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Related Bible reading(s): Daniel 7.9-10,13-14; John 18.33-37

Bible notes

Daniel 7.9-10,13-14, John 18.33-37


  • John arranges the trial of Jesus carefully into scenes. Earlier in chapter 18, Jesus is arrested and questioned by the high priest before being handed over to Pilate, as the representative of imperial Rome. In 18.33-37 there is a dialogue between Jesus and Pilate on the nature of Jesus’ kingship. In a sense, this discussion continues until chapter 19, when Pilate asks the Jews whether he should crucify their king, and they respond that they have no king but the emperor.
  • Jesus is presented as ‘the king of the Jews’, a pretender to the throne of David, but Jesus presents himself as one who exercises a very different kind of kingship, not dependent upon earthly authority. The relationship between Pilate and the Jewish religious authorities is difficult, so Pilate uses Jesus as a pawn in a political power game. 

  • Daniel chapter 7 contains a description of a heavenly vision in which four world kingdoms are replaced by the kingdom of God. ‘One like a human being’, sometimes translated as the Son of Man (a title Jesus used for himself), is presented to the Ancient One and receives eternal kingship. 

  • Jesus doesn’t deny his kingship, but alludes to it in an unusual way. He says that his kingship is ‘not from this world’ – it is based on authority from God and transcends time and space. Pilate is blind to the truth and agrees to Jesus’ crucifixion, but he is unable to prevent Jesus’ heavenly kingship, which continues to this day.
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