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hast thou done? 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 have been delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then ? Jesus answered, Thou sayest truth; for I am a king. To this end was I bom, 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. 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 no fault in him at all. But
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 Jews ? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews ! And they smote him with their hands. Pilate 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. (Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe.) And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man ! When the chief priest therefore and 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. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the judgment
hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou. But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, unless it were given thee from above'; therefore, he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
What a contrast is presented in this scene, between the judge, and the holy prisoner before him. In Pilate we see an inclination to do right, struggling ineffectually with the maxims of a cold-hearted policy; and from the high station which he holds, he sinks to be an object of pity and indignation; pity for his vacillating weakness, when the path of duty lay plain before him,-indignation at the crime into which he suffers himself to be led. Before this timorous yet unjust judge, stands the Saviour of mankind, acknowledging calmly the power which the Governor possesses over him, as a power derived from God, and submitting therefore to the decree of Providence. With the unaffected dignity of innocence, he describes the spiritual nature of his kingdom, and declares the object for which he came into the world. Did not a feeling of the beauty of holiness enter the mind of Pilate, as he listened to his prisoner? The proud and politic Roman felt the nobler feelings of his nature awakened from their long slumber, and sought to release the man whom he could not but revere and love. But he dared not to meet the clamours of the populace, and the indignation of his jealous superiors. The fear of man brought a snare upon him. The remonstrances of conscience were hushed, and he decreed the death of Jesus.
In Pilate's hall, by scornful Pharisees
Surrounded, and by dark-browed Roman bands, Before the procurator's footstool stands The Son of God, the glorious Prince of Peace. Alone he stands, his followers all have fled;
In mockery o'er his limbs a robe is thrown
Of regal purple ; and a thorny crown Appears in scorn upon his sacred head. But calm he spake; From God my cause proceeds ;
Without his will thou canst not harm a hair
Upon my brow; then patient will I bear The unrighteous punishment of holy deeds. I am a king, but not with mortal state. He said, and humbly died, the greatest of the great.
And oh, what beams of dignity and love
Flowed o'er his sacred features, as he stood
Calmly, amid the foes who sought his blood,
And spoke him guiltless; but the frantic crowd
Demand their victim's death, with clamors loud, As the fierce scribes their stormy passions raised. Follower of Jesus ! learn of him to bear
Unmoved, the fury of victorious foes;
Though shame environ thee, and anguish close Thy dying eyes, yet shrink not; thou dost share Thy Master's sufferings ; thou shalt share his rest; Oh, learn of him to live, to die, and to be blest.
JOHN XIX. 12. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in a place that is called the pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha ; (and it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour ;) and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him ; away with him ; crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King ? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
And he, bearing his cross, went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha ; where they crucified him, and two others with him; on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read
of the Jews, for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city, and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he
said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written.—Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, (and made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam,
woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be. That the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then he saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
If the Christian were called on to mention the most touching incident in the history of his Redeemer, would he not name this,-the recommendation of his mother to the care of his beloved disciple ? We see the Saviour, at the moment of extremest pain, a moment when personal suffering might well absorb every other feeling. But his mother is standing near him, his mother, soon to be left desolate in a world which would look upon her with scorn, as the parent of one who had been crucified. The agony of death yields for a moment to the strength of filial affection, and Jesus consigns his mother to his faithful friend. The centurion, when he saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”