So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and spoke to Jesus.
“Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked.
“Was it your idea to ask that?” asked Jesus. Or did other people tell you about me?”
~The Kingdom New Testament
Jesus puts Pilate on trial, forcing him to clarify his question. The origin of the question determines what is actually being asked.
In its historical context, if Pilate is asking on his own, then he is asking if Jesus is a political king and, therefore, some sort of usurper of Caesar. But if he is asking on behalf of what the Jewish people are saying, he is asking if he is a spiritual king, their Messiah.
These two questions have two different answers.
It is always good to get to the heart of people’s spiritual questions, for they deserve thoughtfulness, since they are of the deepest importance.
When someone asks me things like, if there really was a worldwide flood, and Noah literally built a boat that could fit all the animals of the world in it, etc., I first clarify why they’re asking. Is it coming from a place of sincerity, of seeking God, and wondering? Or is it just a cynical curiosity into what I’ll say? How I’ll answer? I have no interest in answering interrogations coming from that second place.
But if from seeking, we want to always direct toward Jesus and not assist people down fatuous rabbit trails.
If you can get to the place of asking someone who they really think Jesus is, all distractions and what other people say aside, it is quite interesting that many people have not really thought through that.
Many people who do not care for Jesus get their view of Him from other people–in a bad way, right? From what they see reported, how they’ve been hurt, false teachers…and not from direct experience of Jesus Himself, whether through Scripture, nature, other people–in a good way. However God chooses to reveal Himself.
Like Pilate, we must all be directed to deal with Jesus ourself, one on one, and make a decision about what we will do with Him.