August 05, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
A Good Confession
“What is Truth?”
The contrast could not have been greater. Truth incarnate was face to face with the cunning and devious governor of the land. To Pilate, truth was a commodity to be used when advantageous, and to be disregarded when convenient. Politics demanded that men consider more than ‘truth’ in decision making. There was his relationship with Rome, his career, the maintaining of the balance of power in his dealing with the Jewish leaders to be considered.
For the accused Man Who stood before Him, truth had a very different meaning. He was truth in His very essence. He spoke the truth with every word. And He had come into the world to bear witness to the truth.
So as judge and accused stood facing each other, there was role reversal as the accused witnessed to the truth, and the judge cynically sneered at its relevance.
We are privileged to listen as Paul writes perhaps some forty years later to Timothy. To encourage him as he faces opposition to faithfulness, he reminds Timothy about “Jesus Christ Who, before Pontius Pilate, witnessed a good confession” (1Tim 6:13). That confession included knowing when to be silent and when to speak. No word was spoken in self-defense. Nothing was said which was calculated to lead to His release. He would say nothing to honor Himself. But He would witness to truth even when He knew it would lead to His death.
“Thou sayest that I am a King” (John 18:37); or in our own way of speaking, “What you are saying is correct. I am a King.” Not only did He keep silence as to His self-defense, but when He did speak, His words both protected His disciples (“My kingdom is not of this world . then would My servants fight”) and exposed Himself to the charge of the Jews. Not only did He own that He was a King, but He also made it clear that Pilate had nothing to fear as His Kingdom was not “of this world.”
But Pilate chose to seize the opportunity and the acknowledgement that Christ was a King. Here was the political charge which Pilate needed to justify in his mind and to Rome, the crucifixion of this Man. And the Lord Jesus gave it to him. He witnessed to what was true knowing the results.
1. There was only one occasion when the Lord Jesus referred to His birth. It is here in verse 37. He mentioned it knowing it would lead to His death. Think of things that are recorded that the Lord said or did only once.
2. What did the Lord Jesus mean when He said, “My kingdom is not of this world”? His Kingdom will indeed one day be on earth. In what sense is it not “of this world?”
3. John’s Gospel is the Gospel of the Son of God. John himself tells us the reason he penned His account under the guidance of the Spirit of God (John 20:30, 31) Notice, however, how often the Lord Jesus is referred to as “King” in this Gospel (John 1:49 for a start). With that in mind notice how each Gospel, while majoring in a theme, never omits the balancing truths of His Kingship, Lordship, Manhood, and deity.