« PreviousContinue »
32. That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die, ?
33. Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the king of the Jews ?
34. Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
35. Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me : what hast thou done?
36. Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world ; if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fiyht, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.
37. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then ? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
38. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
39. But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover : will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jeu's. .
40. Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
The question asked by Pilate, was concerning Christ's kingdom. And in no sense was his kingdom of this world. He had it not of the will of
2 Execution by the cruel mode of crucifixion was only in use among the Romans. Unless, therefore, Jesus had been delivered to the Roman governor, he would not have been crucified.
It was not to be set up by “carnal weapons :" the power by which it should be supported, was spiritual : and the citizenship of its subjects was not on earth, but in heaven. 3
This is very obvious. We must not forget, however, what is no less true. He is a king, though not an earthly king : he has a kingdom, though his kingdom is not of this world. Pilate said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came Iinto the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. It is a calm and quiet mode of assenting to the truth which had been put into the mouth of Pilate. I am a king : but my kingdom is not from hence. Thou sayest that I am a king. And thou sayest truly. From God, and from heaven, though not of this world, or from man, Christ has a kingdom. It is given him of God : as he has said, The Father hath “ delivered all things into his hand,” and has “given him power over all flesh.” And of his sovereignty it is written, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever : a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom :"4 and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” must reign,” we are assured,“ till he hath put all enemies under his feet. How awful are his own words; --the words of him who is “meek and lowly in heart,” when he alludes to the future doom of the disobedient :
66 Those mine enemies, who
3 Ημων πολίτευμα εν ουρανοίς υπαρχει. citizenship, is in heaven. Phil. iii. 20.
4 See Heb. i. 8.
would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me.”'5
In this sense, therefore, Christ would have a kingdom, even if none obeyed him. But he who has assigned him the power, has given him subjects too. According to his own words, addressed to the Father : “ Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” As men are the subjects of him whom they obey, he whose subjects obey him is a king. He reigns in the hearts of those who believe in him. At the moment when he was speaking ; when he was bound as a prisoner, and seemed to have resigned all earthly authority and power ; even then there were some hearts in which he was reigning : there were some who were ready to act, or to forbear to act, as he prescribed. The number of these quickly increased, as "o the word of God grew mightily and prevailed.” And as far as their number is extended, and as far as this dominion is felt and recognized, so far he is a king.
The truth, then, which Pilate inquired for in a trifling spirit, but which he did not stay to hear, is known to us, and we must cherish it. From God and from heaven, though not of the world, or from man, Christ has a kingdom. His subjects are known by certain signs. Though his name is not visibly sealed in their foreheads, it is written in their hearts. And “ the life which they live in the flesh, they live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved them, and gave himself for them.” 5 Luke xix. 27.
6 See Rev. vii. 3; ix. 4.
By his laws they are ruled and guided. For by this may all men know that they are Christ's disciples, “ that they keep his commandments.”
Such is the kingdom which Christ possesses in this world, though not of this world. Here is its beginning. Its continuance will be for ever and ever in the mansions above. Those who belong to it here, will belong to it hereafter. And those who are to share it hereafter, must belong to it here. To those who " endure unto the end,” “ striving against sin ;" to those who “overcome the world,” believing 66 that Jesus is the Son of God,” “ he will grant to sit with him on his
.? “Let every man retire into himself, and see if he can find this kingdom in his heart: for if he find it not there, in vain shall he find it in all the world besides." 8
7 See 1 John v. 5; and Rev. iii. 21.
PILATE CONSENTS TO THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
John xix. 1-16.
1. Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
2. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,
3. And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.
4. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.
5. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man !
6. When the chief priests therefore and the officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
7. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
8. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
9. And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? Bat Jesus gave him no answer.
10. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto