Summary: Sometimes things do not look as they really are. Christ did not look like a King when He stood before Pilate and that was Pilate’s downfall.
I. HIS CLAIMS*
II. HIS CAUSE: **
III. HIS CONQUEST: ***
Two leaders met face to face one day, years ago and it was the most unusual meeting between governmental officials that has ever happened upon this earth. Usually, when one ruler is to meet his equal there are many areas of utmost importance which needs to be solved before the two leaders meet.
One area of concern between the two heads of state concerns which country will be visited by whom. Other areas of concern deal with the delicate subject of who extends a welcoming hand to whom; which side will the visitor sit when seated next to the host; will the two leaders walk together side by side; who will address the audience first, and who will depart first from the other’s company? These are just some of the problems that arise when two heads of state meet. After all, public figures are important, at least they think they are. It is not proper for one ruler to be thrust into the presence of another without the proper ground work being laid before the two heads of state to meet.
But, this was not the case with Jesus and Pilate. Jesus was brought to Pilate early in the morning and the accusation leveled against Jesus was that He was a breaker of the Jewish Law. Pilate, who did not like the Jews, must have thought it ironic that the Jews-who hated the Romans-had now turned on one of their own. There must have been some irony here as Pilate witnessed the spectacle of the rabble who were always spewing hatred towards him only now turned to him because wanted Pilate to crucify one of their own.
Regardless of what he must have thought, he no doubt saw a spectacle that haunted him. Here was a Man who was disheveled, tired and had a swollen face due to the slaps delivered by the Man’s captors earlier that morning. The Man that stood before Pilate that morning must have evoked some pity from this hard hearted, conniving, rogue of a Roman Curator.
Not being too hasty to placate the motley mob of miscreants who were clamoring conflicting, contemptible comments against this plain, poor, pitied Person, Pilate delightfully dallied, defying the wishes of the Jewish hierarchy while he investigated the reasons for this disturbance so early on this particular morning.
As the conversation ensued between the Jews and with Jesus, Pilate was struck by this Man and after trying unsuccessfully to ascertain the real reason for Him being before him, he found this plain, ordinary Man saying that He had a kingdom and it was not of this world. This was when two heads of government met without any pre arranged human intervention and Pilate met the King-of-kings face-to-face. He was struck by what Jesus said and when he asked the second time, if Jesus was really a King, Jesus affirmed the truth. This is where Pilate failed to grasp the significance of the true King. These two leaders had a discussion which shook the world and set in motion the rise of the King of all Kings by His march to Calvary, then to Glory.
In answer to Pilate’s questions, if Jesus was a true King, He answered by stating HIS CLAIMS to His kingdom. Next, I see where Jesus laid out HIS CAUSE for claiming His kingdom and then, lastly, I note HIS CONQUEST as He sat out to establish His kingdom. Pilate did not or could not see these things that day, but history has relegated this ruinous Roman to the rear pages of history while King Jesus is still establishing His kingdom and will continue to do forever.
* HIS CLAIMS : How ironic the situation must have appeared to Pilate that morning when he asked Jesus if He were a King and Jesus said that, “You just admitted it.” Pilate knew he was important-he had the might of Rome behind him. He lived in a sumptuous palace and had fine clothes, servants and money along with pomp and circumstances where ever he went. Yet, here before him stood a Jew, alone, tired, forsaken and the butt end of much hatred and scorn and yet this Man affirmed that He was a King? It must have made Pilate question the Man’s veracity to say the least. But, Jesus knew what He was saying and He laid out His claim to His role of a King through His pronouncements.
The one thing I note about HIS CLAIM to being a King, was the Clarity of His words. He never apologized for His appearance, He never apologized for His lack of earthly riches and glory, and He stated in no uncertain terms with a clear voice that, “Yes, I am a King.” Oh, may we take a note from the Master here and loudly proclaim the same that, “Jesus is a King.” There was no timidity in the voice of the Master that morning. Yes, He was tired; yes, His face hurt; yes, He was forsaken; and yes, He was abused, but His voice was clear, commanding and convincing. He might have been suffering, but the voice that spoke worlds into existence eons ago did not loose its power that day when He told Pilate, “Yes, I am a King.” Pilate heard it and quaked.