Pilate was sitting on the seat of judgement and several times he scrutinized Jesus about whether Jesus had claimed that he himself was a king or the crowds claimed him as their king. After finding that Jesus would cause no threat to his own authority and Jesus had no intention to overthrow the power of the Roman Empire whom Pilate served, he declared Jesus was innocent of the charges people made against him. He wanted to set him free but the crowds and his opponents determined to press charge against him and to eliminate him.
The concept of kingship was the central interrogation of Jesus' trial. The world understands that kingship and authority and glory and prestige that are all interconnected. All earthly kings would love to exercise their role in such a way and they would define it as their right. Jesus, on the other hand, defined the role of a king in the direction that all earthly kings would try hard to avoid it at all cost. For Jesus kingship and personal sacrifice are interconnected and he would show it to the world. Jesus' kingship is revealed at the cross: 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!' Jn 1:29. It is the prophesy John the Baptist predicted about the future king. Jesus later on confirmed what John had said about him that the cross is the symbol of unity and love: 'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself' 12:32. It is not the power of the sword or the mighty weaponry that unite people but by the cross Jesus revealed his unconditional love for the world. Jesus ruled people with love and peace and truth. It is the true peace that comes from God:
Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you John 14:27.
Jesus' responded to Pilate saying that his kingship is not of this world 18:36. Pilate said to Jesus 'So you are a king then? It is you who say it' Jesus responded. He went on to say 'Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness for the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice'. 18, 36-38.
Jesus confirmed to Pilate that he is the king of truth and his followers must live a life of truth, bearing witness for the truth. The truth Jesus talked about means that Jesus who is the Son of God came to this world to bring God's love for the world and those who believe in him will have eternal life. In God's kingdom love and peace and justice rule. Justice is defined in terms of respecting a human life right from the moments of conception to the moments of resurrection. We all bear the image and likeness of God and we are all sisters and brothers in Christ. To live a life of peace and love and justice that person must be born again by the Spirit ( John 3,3-7).
Jesus' kingdom began with the thorny crown on his head and the composition of the cross with the inscription above his head 'King of the Jews'. Despite strong objection from the Jewish chief priests, Pilate stood firm in his writing.
Jesus is king of the universe because he alone has defeated Satan, sin, and death the latter represents the power of the kingdom of darkness.