Jesus Testifies to the Truth
Key Verse: “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.”
AFTER PRAYING IN THE Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples, Jesus knew his departure was at hand. He was approached by Judas, who betrayed him with a kiss. Accompanying Judas were armed soldiers which had been recruited by the chief priests and Pharisees. Jesus inquired as to who they were seeking, to which they answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” (John 18:5) Jesus replied, “I am he.” (vs. 6) Simon Peter, not understanding the situation, attempted to defend Jesus and with his sword injured the high priest’s servant. The Master gently rebuked Peter, saying, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (vss. 10,11) Jesus knew the time had come for him to lay down his life in sacrifice as man’s Redeemer. This was the “cup” of experience which the Father had given him. He was fully committed to drinking it faithfully, even unto death.
The soldiers first presented Jesus to Annas and Caiaphas, the Jewish high priests, who asked him concerning his doctrine. Paraphrasing Jesus’ reply, he reminded them that he had never spoken in secret and had taught openly in the Temple and the synagogue. These were places that the Jews had heard him on many occasions. Rather than explain his teachings to Annas and Caiaphas, who he knew were only intent on putting him to death, Jesus simply said, “Ask them which heard me, … they know what I said.” (vs. 21) It was during Jesus’ appearance before the Jewish high priests that Peter denied him three times, as the Master had foretold. (vss. 17,18,25-27) It was not until he received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (see Acts, chapter 2) that Peter understood the meaning of the events that were unfolding before his confused vision.
Jesus was next taken to the Roman governor, Pilate. He immediately concluded that Jesus had broken no Roman law and turned him back over to the Jews, stating, “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law.” (John 18:31) The Jews told Pilate that their charge against Jesus was punishable by death, which they had no authority to carry out. Pilate agreed to call Jesus back into the judgment hall. He questioned Jesus concerning the charge made that he claimed to be a king. Jesus did not deny the charge, but explained that his kingdom was “not of this world.” (vs. 36) In our Key Verse, he further responded that this was the very cause for his coming into the world. Throughout his ministry he bore witness to the wonderful truth that indeed he would one day establish a kingdom of righteousness and peace on the earth.
After hearing Jesus, Pilate said, “I find in him no fault at all” (vs. 38) As far as Pilate was concerned, Jesus was no threat to Rome and had committed no crime, certainly nothing worthy of death. The Jews, however, said that he had spoken blasphemy and insisted that Pilate sentence him to death. Pilate encouraged Jesus to defend himself, “But Jesus gave him no answer.” (John 19:9) Finally, Pilate spoke these fitting words which echo to us even today, “Behold the man!”—vs. 5