the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“My kingdom is not of this world.”
We shall now attend our dear Redeemer to the judgment seat of the Roman ruler.
For the passover had not yet been celebrated. Our Lord observed a kind of paschal feast one day before the usual time, but the real passover he kept in a higher manner, being then made to be the Lamb of God, whose blood procures the salvation of the chosen. The Jewish counsellors little knew that they were already far too defiled to have any real fellowship with God’s passover, and were unconsciously slaughtering the true Lamb, whose flesh they were not privileged to eat.
They would hurry Pilate to pronounce sentence without a trial, as if the mere fact of their bringing a charge was quite enough. In what a hurry man is to do despite to his God!
Well might he ask this. What, indeed, hadst thou done, O blessed Master, that men should clamour for thy blood?
Thus our Lord wit- nessed a good confession, and showed Pilate that his claims were spiritual, and that he was no rival of Cæsar.
Poor Pilate! he was interested and favourably impressed, and went out to try and clear his prisoner, towards whom he had a mingled feeling of wonder, pity, and awe.
By this he hoped to succeed in delivering Jesus, but vain was the attempt. His enemies meant to put him to death, and would not be turned from their purpose.
Thus having valued the Lord Jesus at the price of a slave, they now prefer a robber to him, and are anxious to see him die a felons death. Well does Herbert put it:
“Pilate, a stranger, holdeth off; but they
Mine own dear people, cry ‘away, away,’
With noise confusèd frightening the day.
Was ever grief like mine?”
Rejected and despised of men,
Behold a man of woe!
And grief his close companion still
Through all his life below!
Yet all the griefs he felt were ours,
Ours were the woes he bore;
Pangs, not his own, his spotless soul
With bitter anguish tore.
We held him as condemn’d of heaven,
An outcast from his God;
While for our sins he groaned, he bled,
Beneath his Father’s rod.
His sacred blood hath wash’d our souls
From sin’s polluting stain;
His stripes have heal’d us, and his death
Revived our souls again.
“I have found no fault in this man.”
It was vain for Pilate to attempt to appease the Jews; they were bent on the death of Jesus, and nothing else would satisfy them.
He hoped by this means to rid himself of this troublesome affair. He knew the Lord to be innocent, and he ought to have set him free, but had not the moral courage to do so; he, therefore, welcomed the chance of transferring the case to other hands. How wretched is that man who is afraid to do right.
Luke 23:8 , Luke 23:9
It was no part of our Lord’s business to gratify idle curiosity, neither could it be of any avail to explain his doctrine to a man of Herod’s character, and, therefore, his wisdom was seen in his silence.
As they saw that Herod was not bitter against him, they grew more violent in their charges, hoping that our Lord’s silence would enrage him, and so they might procure his death.
Herod saw that Jesus could not be guilty in the manner laid to his charge, but the silence of the Lord excited his angry contempt, and he therefore ridiculed his claims to be the Messiah.
A compromise, but a very wicked one. If guilty the prisoner ought not to be released, if innocent he ought not to be chastised. Attempts to compromise between right and wrong are always failures and should be shunned by all honest men.
Matthew 27:19 , Matthew 27:20 , Matthew 27:24 , Matthew 27:25
This was a warning to him. Heathens paid much respect to dreams, and, therefore, this must have greatly moved him, yet he dared not oppose the priests.
The washing availed him nothing, the blood of Jesus lay at his door, for had he been just he would have released the innocent.
A terrible imprecation, which has doomed Israel to her long sorrows. The blood of Jesus will either be upon us to cleanse, or on us to condemn. Which will it be?
Power and dominion are his due
Who stood condemn’d at Pilate’s bar;
Wisdom belongs to Jesus too,
Though he was charged with madness here.
Honour immortal must be paid,
Instead of scandal and of scorn;
While glory shines around his head,
And a bright crown without a thorn.