Brought to Trial

KEY VERSE: “Thou sayest that lam 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.” —John 18:37

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 18:33-37; 19:6-11, 14-16

WHEN Pilate, the Roman governor, entered the judgment hall for the second time that night, it was with a growing sense of uneasiness. He was aware that the composed and stately young man standing before him was being set up for death by an angry mob comprised of priests, their servants, and riled citizens of Jerusalem. Being unable by law to execute him themselves, they had brought him before Pilate with charges of sedition against Roman authority, demanding his death. Pilate faced Jesus with their accusation: “Art thou king of the Jews?” Jesus’ reply refuted any hint of rebellion on his part: “My kingdom is not of this world.” He went on to explain that if he were trying to set up a kingdom at that time, he certainly would not have allowed himself to be delivered up to his enemies. To this Pilate queried, “Art thou a king, then?” In other words, how can you be a king without a kingdom? Again Jesus answered, “Thou sayest that I am a king”; your question is predicated upon a great truth—I am a king! “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.” Jesus continued by saying it was incumbent upon him to bear witness to this important truth.

It was difficult, yea, well nigh impossible for Pilate to reconcile these words with the fact that this young man, so appealing in appearance and attitude, possessed of a poise and grace superior to any king he had ever known, and whose avowed mission was to be a king, should accept a sure course of death without a struggle and with no defense. With incredulous disbelief he exclaimed, “What is truth?”

The world ever since has tended to echo these words of Pilate. Even the Christian world has not succeeded in fording a logical relationship between Jesus’ death and the establishment of his kingdom. In their ignorance, many attempts have been made to set up Christ’s kingdom on earth. We have failed because they were contrary to God’s design—a design based on the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, accomplished at his first advent.

It was not God’s purpose that his Son should rule over a dying world. It was necessary then, that before Jesus exercise his authority as king, the world must be saved, and brought out from under the sentence of death which came upon all through Adam. How fitting that he who was destined to rule the world should be its savior. What mortal ruler was ever known to have humbled himself and willingly offered his life for his subjects? This Jesus did, even to the laying down of his life upon the cross.

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning him, that “though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:5, RSV) Thus is revealed the mind and heart of the world’s great king.

In the scriptural context immediately preceding this enlightening statement, Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.” (vs. 5) The apostle was speaking to those same few whom Jesus had told Pilate would understand his actions that night, and would see in them how he bore witness to the truth. His statement was, “Everyone that is of the truth, heareth my voice.”

In accordance with his promise, God highly exalted Jesus when he raised him from the dead. Isaiah 45:22,23 reads, “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear.” The Apostle Paul applies the words of this prophecy to Jesus, knowing that in the divine arrangement those who honor the Son honor the Father. So Paul explains it is to the exalted Jesus that every knee will eventually bow and every tongue confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:11

Then this great king shall “command peace to the nations, his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”—Zech. 9:10, RSV

Won’t Pilate be surprised!

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |