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18. Arrest and Trial

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. 7Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. 8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: 9That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. 10Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? 12Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. 16But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. 18And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.

19The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. 21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 25And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

28Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. 29Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. 33Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37Pilate 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. 38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

36. My kingdom is not of this world. By these words he acknowledges that he is a king, but, so far as was necessary to prove his innocence, he clears himself of the calumny; for he declares, that there is no disagreement between his kingdom and political government or order; 154154     “Et le goavernement ou ordre politique.” as if he had said, “I am falsely accused, as if I had attempted to produce a disturbance, or to make a revolution in public affairs. I have preached about the kingdom of God; but that is spiritual, and, therefore, you have no right to suspect me of aspiring to kingly power.” This defense was made by Christ before Pilate, but the same doctrine is useful to believers to the end of the world; for if the kingdom of Christ were earthly, it would be frail and changeable, because

the fashion of this world passeth away,
(1 Corinthians 7:31;)

but now, since it is pronounced to be heavenly, this assures us of its perpetuity. Thus, should it happen, that the whole world were overturned, provided that our consciences are always directed to the kingdom of Christ, they will, nevertheless, remain firm, not only amidst shakings and convulsions, but even amidst dreadful ruin and destruction. If we are cruelly treated by wicked men, still our salvation is secured by the kingdom of Christ, which is not subject to the caprice of men. In short, thouglh there are innumerable storms by which the world is continually agitated, the kingdom of Christ, in which we ought to seek tranquillity, is separated from the world.

We are taught, also, what is the nature of this kingdom; for if it made us happy according to the flesh, and brought us riches, luxuries, and all that is desirable for the use of the present life, it would smell of the earth and of the world; but now, though our condition be apparently wretched, still our true happiness remains unimpaired. We learn from it, also, who they are that belong to this kingdom; those who, having been renewed by the Spirit of God, contemplate the heavenly life in holiness and righteousness. Yet it deserves our attention, likewise, that it is not said, that the kingdom of Christ is not in this world; for we know that it has its seat in our hearts, as also Christ says elsewhere, The kingdom of God is within you, (Luke 17:21.) But, strictly speaking, the kingdom of God, while it dwells in us, is a stranger to the world, because its condition is totally different.

My servants would strive. He proves that he did not aim at an earthly kingdom, because no one moves, no one takes arms in his support; for if a private individual lay claim to royal authority, he must gain power by means of seditious men. Nothing of this kind is seen in Christ; and, therefore, it follows that he is not an earthly king.

But here a question arises, Is it not lawful to defend the kingdom of Christ by arms? For when Kings and Princes 155155     “Quand il est commande aux Rois ct Princes.” are commanded to kiss the Son of God, (Psalm 2:10-12) not only are they enjoined to submit to his authority in their private capacity, but also to employ all the power that they possess, in defending the Church and maintaining godliness. I answer, first, they who draw this conclusion, that the doctrine of the Gospel and the pure worship of God ought not to be defended by arms, are unskillful and ignorant reasoners; for Christ argues only from the facts of the case in hand, how frivolous were the calumnies which the Jews had brought against him. Secondly, though godly kings defend the kingdom of Christ by the sword, still it is done in a different manner from that in which worldly kingdoms are wont to be defended; for the kingdom of Christ, being spiritual, must be founded on the doctrine and power of the Spirit. In the same manner, too, its edification is promoted; for neither the laws and edicts of men, nor the punishments inflicted by them, enter into the consciences. Yet this does not hinder princes from accidentally defending the kingdom of Christ; partly, by appointing external discipline, and partly, by lending their protection to the Church against wicked men. It results, however, from the depravity of the world, that the kingdom of Christ is strengthened more by the blood of the martyrs than by the aid of arms.

37. Thou sayest that I am a king. Although Pilate had already learned, from the former answer, that Christ claims for himself some sort of kingdom, yet now Christ asserts the same thing more firmly; and, not satisfied with this, he makes an additional statement, which serves for a seal, as it were, to ratify what he had said. Hence we infer, that the doctrine concerning Christ’s kingdom is of no ordinary importance, since he has deemed it worthy of so solemn an affirmation.

For this cause was I born, that I may bear witness to the truth. This is, no doubt, a general sentiment; but it must be viewed in relation to the place which it holds in the present passage. The words mean, that it is natural for Christ to speak the truth; and, next, that he was sent for this purpose by the Father; and, consequently, that this is his peculiar office. There is no danger, therefore, that we shall be deceived by trusting him, since it is impossible that he who has been commissioned by God, and whose natural disposition leads him to maintain the truth, shall teach any thing that is not true.

Every one that is of the truth. Christ added this, not so much for the purpose of exhorting Pilate, (for he knew that he would gain nothing by doing so,) as of defending his doctrine against the base reproaches which had been cast on it; as if he had said, “It is imputed to me as a crime that I have asserted that I am a king; and yet this is an unquestionable truth, which is received with reverence and without hesitation by all who have a correct judgment and a sound understanding.” When he says, that they are of the truth he does not mean that they naturally know the truth, but that they are directed by the Spirit of God.


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