Pilate therefore said to him, Are you a king then? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. To this end was I born…
I. THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION.
1. Every monarch must have some sort of "Divine right"; what was the right that Jesus here asserted?
(1) It might have been the right of possession. Christ could have said to him, "I am that Messiah who was predicted by their prophets to reign." But Pilate could have answered, "I do not recognize the right of even the Jew's Messiah to be a king."(2) It might have been the right of conquest. Jesus might have told him that He had subjected these people by His miracles, that He proved Divine authority by wielding Divine power. But to this Pilate had, for a ready reply, the woeful fact that it was the Jews who had already delivered this so-called Messiah into his hands.
(3) It might have been the right of acceptance; for Christ, in sober earnest, could have appealed away from priests to populace, and reminded Pilate that once He had been obliged to withdraw Himself, lest they should make Him a king "by force;" and just now He rode in a royal triumph even into the gate of Jerusalem. But here, again, Pilate was at liberty to interrupt Him with a fine sarcasm, in the suggestion that He had better settle such matters with Herod, the regular heir.
(4) What Jesus did assert, was the right of personal genuineness as a man, and hence as the King of men. The heathen governor, of course, did not dare dispute this; indeed, he hardly knew what it meant. "What is truth?"
2. What was the nature of His kingdom?
(1) It was spiritual in every particular. It did not need any fleet or flag; it would not want either army or arsenal; it did not propose to collect customs or make treaties. This imperial officer saw clearly that Jesus offered no menace to Caesar.
(2) And yet this kingdom was to be organic. It would have its laws, orders, rulers.It openly announced that it would lay its hand on men and money, lands and seas, in order that it might use them as means of advancement in raising the race to the image of God in purity, and holiness, and strength.
II. THE PROCESS BY WHICH THIS KINGDOM WAS ESTABLISHED ON THE EARTH.
1. In the beginning, Christ united a few true men to Himself for the sake of the work they could do. It was not the coming together of a people, who, as soon as they began to feel the need of government, elected a king.
2. Then He joined these to each other by rendering them efficient in the instant conversion of souls. He chose Andrew, and at once managed it so that Andrew "found" Simon, &c. And in order to show the principle on which this extension of His spiritual sway must proceed, He took pains to say that Nathanael was accepted, because he was a genuine, true man, precisely what every one needed to be in a kingdom of truth.
3. Then a tremendous sifting of the entire community ensued (John 6:53-58, 66-71). The point which our Lord pressed was that of a supreme and vital union to Himself.
4. The next step, now become essential, was for our Lord to disappear from their sympathy and sight. There was springing up, naturally enough, a human regard, which was diverting His adherents from truth alone (John 16:5-71
5. Finally, Jesus went away, and the promised Comforter came to guide into all truth.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
WEB: Pilate therefore said to him, "Are you a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."