Summary: Jesus' testimony before Pilate spoke of the purpose of His coming. Though we speak of joy and peace in Christ, it is essential that He came to bring salvation. This He has done through presenting His life as a sacrifice. Those who believe are ushered into His Kingdom.

“Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’ Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’” [1]

“Are you asking [whether I am King of the Jews] on your own, or have others told you about Me?” That was the question Jesus asked Pilate when He was arraigned on a trumped-up charge of sedition. Whether one’s question concerning the Master is asked out of idle curiosity or whether they are seeking affirmation will determine their eternal destiny. Pilate was seemingly aggravated, uninterested in receiving an answer. Jesus’ response to Pilate’s bored query was actually quite gracious. In effect, the Master provided opportunity for the Roman legate to pursue the answer. However, Pilate positioned himself as one who was far from the Kingdom of God.

Christmas Day, the day set aside to commemorate the truth that God did send His Son into the world to provide an infinite sacrifice for fallen mankind, will be here soon. On that day, families will gather to feast and to fête. For many Canadians, it will be a holiday with scant meaning, a day to give and to receive gifts, a day to eat to excess and to drink oneself into oblivion, a day for merriment and riotous pursuit of personal pleasure. To be certain, some people will be deeply saddened on this day, separated from family and lonely despite the bright lights and brilliant decorations. Far too few of our fellow citizens will pause to remember that the origins of this day lie in the dark mysteries of the love of God, for we remember that all the world is sunk down in dark sin even now. However, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” [JOHN 3:16].

Reading the account of a Canadian soldier serving in Afghanistan, I was amused to read his description that upon returning to the forward operating base on one occasion they were met by a warrant officer dressed up as Santa Claus who was handing out water. It was comic relief providing a break from the monotony of war. However, the meaning was lost on the Afghan soldiers who accompanied the Canadians on this mission. Later, an Afghan lieutenant called his troops to attention while a Canadian warrant officer explained “Christmas” to the Afghanis.

The Canadian captain was approached later that evening by two Afghan soldiers accompanied by the interpreter. They asked, “Captain Rob, [the men] would like to know why would Christians celebrate the return of a red demon once a year that comes down stovepipes to steal cookies and milk from small children?” [2] Apparently, something was lost in translation.

Assuredly, something has been lost in translation when we turn our attention to the message of Christ’s first advent and the modern understanding of that momentous event. Our contemporaries seem clueless as to the purpose of Christ coming into our world. Overwhelmingly, people see Christmas as an opportunity to party, never realising the significance of what transpired during that brief moment in history. Through modern selfishness, Christmas has been reduced to a parody of a celebration of the love of God. Christ is shoved out of the modern consciousness as our own desire for momentary pleasure fills our imaginations. Tragically, even the professed people of God are tripped up by what passes as commemoration of the birth of the Son of God.

THE PRETENDER AND THE KING — “Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus.” Two men are at the centre of our study. Ostentatious, wearing the robes of office as a cloak for his conceit, one man dons nobility like a cheap suit. He wears his dignity as he wears his robes—dignity is otherwise absent from his life. The man seated on the throne is important in the world system, and he knows it. He will compel everyone to recognise how very important he is, forcing them, if necessary, to show him the deference he imagines to be his due.

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