Christ Died for You

KEY VERSE: “When the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.” —Mark 15:39


IN HEBREWS 12:3 we read of the “contradiction of sinners against” Jesus. There was a very striking demonstration of this when he was on trial, first before the religious authorities of Israel, and then before the civil rulers who represented the Roman Empire. The accusation against him before the religious tribunal was that he claimed to be “the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matt. 26:63) This was considered blasphemy against God, punishable by death.

Actually, Jesus was the Son of God. It was not merely a claim on his part, but a reality. This being true, he was not a blasphemer. But the religious leaders of Israel did not believe this, and since Jesus did not deny the charge, he was judged by them as worthy of death.

But the religious leaders of Israel were powerless to inflict the death penalty without the consent of the Roman authorities under which Israel was a subject people. Thus it was necessary to take Jesus to Pilate to have him condemned under the civil law of Rome.

They knew that Pilate would not be concerned with the charge against Jesus that he claimed to be the Son of God. To Pilate this would be merely a religious issue among a subject people, having nothing to do with the administration of Roman law. So the accusation these jealous and hypocritical religious leaders brought to Pilate was that Jesus claimed to be a king. Pilate could not justifiably ignore this charge, for, if true, it meant treason against Caesar.

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Art thou the king of the Jews?” To this Jesus replied, “Thou sayest it.” John reports this reply in greater detail: “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 to the truth.” (Mark 15:2; John 18:37) While Jesus willingly acknowledged to Pilate that he was born to be a king, he explained that his kingdom was not of this world.—John 18:36

Many have taken this to mean that it was not the plan of God for Jesus to rule over the peoples of earth. But this is not the thought. The Greek word here translated “world” is kosmos, meaning ‘order’ or ‘arrangement’. In this context it simply means the present social order of sin and selfishness. What Jesus meant was that he would not rule over the present social order, nor would his kingdom be established by human methods. Jesus explained, “If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews.”—John 18:36

Pilate, of course, not knowing the plan of God, did not realize that Jesus’ explanation implied that his kingdom would be no threat to the Roman Empire as it was then constituted. Jesus had acknowledged that he was born to be a king, so technically Pilate had no legal right to ignore the charge which Israel’s religious leaders had brought against him.

Even though Pilate did not understand the plan of God pertaining to the future kingdom of Christ, he knew that Jesus, with no army to support him, and never having shown any belligerent attitude toward Rome, was no real threat to the realm. He sensed that it was envy on the part of his accusers that had brought about this situation. He reasoned with them as best he could, but without avail, and they cried, “Crucify him.”

Jesus voluntarily gave himself to die as the Redeemer of the world. “He opened not his mouth” in self-defense.—Isa. 53:7

Dawn Bible Students Association
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