Luke 23:33-46

                                             May 16, 2021





                        The Divine Kingdom (23:1-3)


Deeply interesting is this interview between the Nazarene and the Roman,

the Jewish Prisoner and the Roman judge; the one then brought forth as a

malefactor and now seated on the throne of the world, the other then

exalted on the seat of power and now sunk to the depth of universal pity if

not of universal scorn. “Art thou a King?” asks the latter, in the tone of

lofty superiority. “I am,” replies the former, in the tone of calm and

profound assurance. What, then, was this kingdom of which He spoke?

What was that kingdom of God, that kingdom of heaven, that “kingdom of

the truth” (John 18:37) which He foretold, which He came to this world

and which He laid down His life to establish? It was the sovereignty of God

over all human souls. God’s claim — which is not founded on

prescription, nor upon force, but upon righteousness — is His claim on the

reverence, the affection, the obedience, of those whom He has created,

preserved, enriched, who owe to Him all that He demands of them. With us,

who have revolted from His rule, this means nothing less than the

restoration of our loyalty, and thus our return to His likeness and to His

favor as well as to His sway.


John 18:33-34

“Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus,

and said unto Him, Art thou the King of the Jews?”  Pilate therefore entered

again  into the Praetorium, out of direct hearing of the vociferous crowd, where 

Jesus and John himself had remained under supervision of the officers of the court,

and called — summoned Jesus to his side, and said to Him that of which the mob

outside formed an imperfect idea. The account of John throws much light on the

inference which Pilate drew from the reply of Jesus, as given in v. 38 and in Luke

23:4. To the loud accusations and bitter charges of“the chief priests and elders” 

(Matthew 27:11-12; Mark 15:3-4) brought in the presence of Pilate, Christ answered

nothing. His solemn and accusing silence caused the governor to marvel greatly (see

both Matthew 27:14 and Mark 15:5). He marveled not only at the

silence of the Lord, but at that silence after he, Pilate, had received from

Him so explicit a statement as to the nature of His own kingdom. An

explanation of the motive of Pilate, and of his entire manner upon this

occasion, is to be found in the private interview between our Lord and the

Roman governor within the Praetorium. It is unnecessary (with many) to

see in Pilate an “almost persuaded” believer in the claims of Jesus, who yet

was warring with his better judgment, and apostatizing from a nascent

faith. He appears rather as the Roman man of the world, who has never

learned to rule his policy by any notions of righteousness and truth, and is

utterly unable to appreciate the spiritual claims of this Nazarene; yet he was

shrewd enough to see that, so far as Roman authority was concerned, this

Prisoner was utterly harmless. His question was, Art thou the King of the

Jews? Of course, he expected at first a negative reply. Should this abused

and rejected, this bound and bleeding Sufferer, with no apparent followers

around Him, actually betrayed by one of His intimate friends, deserted by

the rest, and hounded to death by the fierce cries of Pharisee and

Sadducee, chief priest and elder, answer in the affirmative, it might easily

suggest itself to Pilate that He must be under some futile hallucination. It

has been said that the question might have been answered right off in the

affirmative or in the negative, according as the term “King of the Jews”

was understood. If what Pilate meant was a popular titular leader,

imperator of Jewish levies, one prepared for the career of Judas of Galilee,

or Herod the Idumaean, or for that of Barchochab in after times, —

nothing could seem to be less likely or more patently repudiated by the

facts; moreover, from our Lord Himself, who had always refused a quasi-royal

dignity (ch.6:15), it would have required an emphatic negative.

Pilate knew no other way of interpreting the phrase. If the term meant the

true “King of Israel,” the Messiah anticipated by prophecy and psalm, the

King of all kings and Lord of lords, the Ruler of hearts, who would draw

all men to Him, and cast out and vanquish the prince of this world, then the

crown” was His, and He could not deny it; but before this assertion was

made in the hearing of the multitude, our Lord would draw from Pilate the

sense in which he used the words. He does not say to him, Σὺ λέγεις

Su legeis - Thou sayest —a reply given verbatim by all the synoptists, and

referring to a second demand made in the presence of the multitude — but

He put a counter-question.


34  Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others

tell it thee of me?”  Sayest thou this thing, askest thou this question, from





When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was rising,

he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of

the blood of this just person. You see to it." (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 22-23,

John 18-19)


It was very early in the morning when the rulers of the Jews brought Jesus to Pilate.

They would not go into Pilate's hall because Pilate was not of their nation, and Pilate

came out to them, and asked them, "What charge do you bring against this man?"


They answered, "If he were not an evildoer, we would not have brought him to you."

Pilate did not wish to be troubled, and he said, "Take him away, and judge him by

your own law!" The Jews said to Pilate, "We are not allowed to put any man to

death, and we have brought him to you. We have found this man teaching evil,

and telling men not to pay taxes to the Emperor Caesar, and saying that He Himself

is Christ, a king." Then Pilate went into his courtroom, and sent for Jesus; and when

he looked at Jesus, he said, "Are you the King of the Jews? Your own people have

brought you to me. What have you done?"

Jesus said to him, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were of this world, then

those who serve me would fight to save me from my enemies. But now my kingdom

is not here."


Pilate said, "Are you a king, then?" Jesus answered him, "You have spoken it.

I am a king. For this was I born, and for this I came into the world, that I might

speak the truth of God to men."

"Truth", said Pilate, "What is truth?" Then, without waiting for an answer,

Pilate went out to the rulers and the crowd, and said, "I find no evil in this man."


Pilate thought that Jesus was a harmless man, and he could see no reason why the

rulers and the people should be so bitter against him. But they cried out all the more,

saying, "He stirs up the people everywhere, from Galilee even to this place." When

Pilate heard the word "Galilee", he asked if this man had come from that land.

They told him that he had; and then Pilate said, "Galilee and its people are under

the rule of Herod. He has come up to Jerusalem, and I will send this man to him."



So from Pilate's courtroom, Jesus was sent, still bound, to Herod's palace. This was

the Herod who had put John the Baptist in prison, and had given his head to a dancing

girl. Herod was very glad to see Jesus, for he had heard many things about him; and he

hoped to see him do some wonderful thing. But Jesus would not work wonders as a

show, and when Herod asked him many questions, Jesus would not speak a word.

Herod would not judge Jesus, for he knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong; so

he and his soldiers mocked Jesus, and dressed him in a gay robe, as though he were

a make-believe king, and sent him back to Pilate.



Pilate, much against his will, was compelled to decide either for Jesus or against him.

And just as Jesus was standing bound before him a message came to Pilate from his

wife, saying, "Do nothing against that good man; for in this night I have suffered many

things in a dream on account of him."


Pilate said to the Jews, "You have brought this man to me as one who is leading

the people to evil; and I have seen that there is no evil in him, nor has Herod. I will

order that he be beaten with rods, and then set free. For you know that it is the custom

to set a prisoner free at the time of the feast." They set some prisoner free, as a sign of

the joy at the feast. And at that time there was in the prison a man named Barabbas,

who was a robber and a murderer. Pilate said to the people, "Shall I set free Jesus,

who is called the King of the Jews?"


But the rulers went among the people and urged them to ask for Barabbas to be

set free. And the crowd cried out, "Not this man, but Barabbas!" Then Pilate said,

"What, then, shall I do with Jesus?" And they all cried out, "Crucify him! Let him

die on the cross!"



Pilate wished greatly to spare the life of Jesus. To show how he felt, he sent for water,

and he washed his hands before all the people, saying, "My hands are clean from the

blood of this good man!' And they cried out, "Let his blood be on us, and on our

children after us! Crucify him! Send him to the cross!"


Then Pilate, to please the people, gave them what they asked. He set free Barabbas,

the man of their choice, though he was a robber and a murderer; but before giving

way to the cry that he should send Jesus to the cross, he tried once more to save his

life. He caused Jesus to be beaten until the blood came upon him, hoping that this

might satisfy the people. As Jesus was spoken of as a king, the soldiers who beat

Jesus made a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple

robe, such as was worn by kings, and bowing down before him they called out to him,

"Hail, King of the Jews!"


Then, hoping to awaken some pity for Jesus, Pilate brought him out to the people,

with the crown of thorns and the purple robe upon him, and Pilate said, "Look on

this man!" But again the cry arose, "Crucify him! Send him to the cross!" And at

last Pilate yielded to the voice of the people. He sat down on the judgment seat, and

gave command that Jesus, whom he knew to be a good man, one who had done

nothing evil, should be put to death upon the cross.





Spiritual Blindness (ch. 4:18)  


                                          (this was scheduled for Jan. 24, 2021)



 “The recovering of sight to the blind.” We think of:


·         THE BADNESS OF BLINDNESS, and its degrees. “It must be very

bad to be blind,” we say; probably we but faintly realize what it means.


Ø      It is bad to be physically blind — to look on no scenery, to read no

book, to behold no countenance, to recognize no love in a human face,

to grope our way in the thick darkness.


Ø      It is worse to be mentally blind — to see, and not to see; to open

the eyes on the beauty and wonder and glory of the universe and to

recognize nothing beautiful, wonderful, glorious, there; to be as lonely

in a library as in a cell!  (One of the prayers that Ms. Augusta prays

is her thanksgiving to God for “waking in the morning and to have

 a portion of health and to be in her right mind!”  - CY – 2012)


o       It is worse still to be morally blind — blind of soul, so that a man can

see nothing degraded in drunkenness, nothing shameful in vice, nothing

revolting in obscenity and profanity, nothing repelling in selfishness; so

that a man can see nothing noble in generosity, nothing beautiful in

beneficence, nothing regal in righteousness and duty, nothing sacred

in human love.


Ø      It is worst of all to be SPIRITUALLY BLIND  — worst, because that is

      the root and source of all the others; blindness of spirit, A DARKNESS

in which the soul fails to see:


o       the Highest of all beings,

o       the loftiest of all truths,

o       the greatest of all facts;


a darkness in which  the soul fails to recognize the essential truth that

in God we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28), and

that to Him  we are responsible for all we are and have; in which it is

blind to  our sorrowful state of guilt and condemnation in the sight of

God. It is spiritual insensibility that is the most deplorable — the

fact that men don’t know that they don’t see; that they suppose

themselves to know everything when they know nothing; that they

are not aware what a world of truth and blessedness is around

them AND IS ACESSIBLE UNTO THEM!   If they would but





is the best feature in physical is the worst in spiritual blindness. Under the

merciful principle of accommodation, the blind became not only

submissive, but contented and even cheerful in the darkness in which they

dwell. They are able not only to speak of it, but to feel about it that it is

the shadow of God’s wing.” That is a very happy thing; but that is the

very worst feature of spiritual blindness. It is spiritual insensibility that is

the most deplorablethe fact that men don’t know that they don’t see;

that they suppose themselves to know everything when they know nothing;

that they are not aware what a world of truth and blessedness is around

them and is accessible to them. Who shall reveal this to them?



does He make us see that to which, but for Him, we should have remained



Ø      By making quite plain and certain that which would have remained

shadowy and uncertain. Many truths of vital importance men would, in

His absence, have speculated upon and discussed, but they would not

have known them. Coming to us from God, the great Teacher has

turned these uncertainties into living and sustaining truth. He tells

us authoritatively and decisively that God is the one Divine Spirit,

the righteous Ruler of all, the Father of souls:


o       condemning them in their sin,

o       pitying them in their estrangement,

o       inviting them to return;


that God has determined that when we die we shall live again, shall

come forth to a resurrection of condemnation or of life.


Ø      By bringing the truth close home to the eye of the soul. When our Lord

lived on earth He did this Himself in His own Person; e.g. in the cases

of the woman of Samaria, the rich young ruler, Nicodemus, He brought

the truth of the kingdom home to the heart and the conscience. Those

lips are closed to us now; Christ speaks not now as He spoke then. But

His Spirit is with us still, speaking through His Word and through His

faithful servants, and through his providence.


Ø      By more fully enlightening the minds of those who go in faith to seek

and to serve Him. Unto all seeking and trusting souls He manifests His

truth in ever-enlarging fullness; them He leads “into all the truth”

(John 16:13) they need to know; and to them it becomes gloriously

true that the Spirit of the Lord has anointed Him, their Savior, for

the recovering of sight to the blind.”