July 22, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,
that I should bear witness unto the truth.
There are numerous incidents in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in which something is only mentioned once. This is not to suggest that these only occurred once, but rather that the Spirit of God has only recorded them on one occasion. For example, we only read once of His being asleep (Matt 8:24) and yet He was awakened. Only once does it record that He stood still on His journey (Mark 10:49) and it was for a blind beggar. Once He was weary (John 4:6) but He used it as an opportunity to send disciples away so that He could be alone with the woman at the well. He sang only once (Matt 26:30) and it was on the way to Calvary. Each of these should bow our hearts in wonder and worship at the beauty and grace of this beautiful person, our Lord Jesus Christ.
These single mentions (and others could be added), by the Spirit of God are meant to highlight them by their uniqueness. In our Bibles, there is the law of first mention, the law of last mention, the law of most frequent mention, and the law of single mention. Each carries import for the student of Scripture.
But what of John 18:37? The Lord Jesus spoke many times of His coming into the world. He spoke of it in relation to His mission, the Father’s will, the laying down of His life, the abundant life He came to provide – these and many others. The purpose of His coming was frequently on His lips. What is unique in John 18:37 is that this is the only time the Lord Jesus mentioned His birth! We can only speculate on the reason. Perhaps He was placing greater emphasis on the spiritual reasons He came. Perhaps He was pointing men away from the natural means by which He came to the unseen world of spiritual realities. On the other hand, perhaps His Birth was so obvious that He did not need to dwell on it in His ministry.
But here, before His interrogator, Pilate, for the first and only time, He said, “To this end was I born.” At His Birth He was ‘Immanuel’ or ‘God with us.’ He had come to bear witness to truth which was independent of men, finding its basis in the very character of God.
His witness before Pilate was not intended to be a defense against the charges placed upon Him. He was bearing witness that He was indeed a King, but a King Whose kingdom was not made up of soldiers who would threaten Rome, but of those who responded to truth. He would be sentenced to death for His claim to Kingship. Thus He mentioned His birth only once, but it insured His death.
1. Think of other occasions where actions of the Lord Jesus are only mentioned on one occasion.
2. John gives us details of the interrogation by Pilate which the other Gospel writers do not give us. Pilate’s words were dripping with scorn initially: “Art THOU the king of the Jews?” What do you think of His words, “What is truth?”
3. In what sense was the cross the ultimate expression of His bearing witness to the truth?