Fourth Sunday in Lent – Monday
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. —John 18:37.
It was very early in the morning when the councilors appeared with Jesus before the Hall of Judgment. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, was there. The Jews themselves did not go into the Judgment Hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said: “What accusation bring ye against this Man?” (John 18:28-29). They answered insolently: “If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto Thee” (v. 30). Then Pilate said to them: “Take ye Him, and judge Him according to your law” (31a). The Jews said to him: “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death” (v. 31b). For the saying of Jesus must needs be fulfilled, that He would be delivered to the Gentiles and crucified (v. 32). So the Jews began to accuse Him, saying: “We found this Fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King” (Luke 23:2). Then Pilate entered the Judgment Hall again, and called for Jesus, and said to Him: “Art Thou the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33). Jesus answered him: “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of Me?” (v. 34). Pilate answered: “Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered Thee unto me; what hast Thou done?” (v. 35). Jesus answered: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is My kingdom not from hence” (v. 36). Pilate therefore said to Him: “Art Thou a King, then?” (v. 37a). 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” (v. 37b). Pilate said disdainfully: “What is truth?” (v. 38a). And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them: “I find in Him no fault at all (v. 38b).
He took Jesus to be a religious fanatic, but not a rebel who deserved to be killed. Most assuredly, Jesus is a King. But His kingdom is not of this world, is not of the nature of the kingdoms of this world. He founds, sustains, and spreads His kingdom only through His Word, the Word of Truth, the truth of grace, which was conceived in God’s eternal counsel, revealed and made manifest in Christ, and is proclaimed through His Word: the truth that He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. And every one that is of the truth, every one that is born of God, drawn by God to receive this Word of Truth, hears the voice and Word of Jesus with a spiritual ear, and enters His kingdom and remains therein, here in time and hereafter in eternity.
Are you of the truth? By faith in Christ you are!
PRAYER. – Most merciful God, I implore Thee that Thou wouldst, at all times, make my ear and my heart quick to know and hear and receive the voice and gracious Word of my Savior as the only saving truth, that thus I may be and remain in His kingdom, believing here and blissfully beholding hereafter. This I ask, O God, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
My Shepherd, now receive me;
My Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me,
O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me
With words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me
To heavenly joys above.
Hymn 172, 5. [TLH]