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Humble Hero

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    Jesus Tries to Save Pilate

    Jesus did not leave Pilate without further light. He made it clear to him that He was not seeking an earthly throne.HH 335.1

    “My kingdom is not of this world,” He said. “‘If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’ “ Christ wanted Pilate to understand that only by receiving and assimilating truth could his ruined nature be reconstructed.HH 335.2

    Pilate’s mind was confused. His heart stirred with a great longing to know what the truth really was and how he could obtain it. “What is truth?” he asked. But he did not wait for an answer. The priests were shouting for immediate action. Going out to the Jews, he declared emphatically, “I find no fault in Him at all.”HH 335.3

    As the priests and elders heard this from Pilate, their disappointment and rage knew no limits. As they saw that Pilate might release Jesus, they seemed ready to tear Him in pieces. They denounced Pilate loudly and threatened him with the disapproval of the Roman government. They accused him of refusing to condemn Jesus who, they claimed, had set Himself up against Caesar. Angry voices declared that Jesus’ influence toward revolt was well known throughout the country. “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”HH 335.4

    At this time Pilate had no thought of condemning Jesus. He knew that the Jews had accused Him because of hatred and prejudice. Justice demanded that he should release Christ. But if he refused to give Jesus into the hands of the people, a riot would result, and this he feared to meet. When he heard that Christ was from Galilee, he decided to send Him to Herod, the ruler of that province, who was in Jerusalem then. In this way Pilate thought to shift the responsibility to Herod. He also thought this would be a good opportunity to heal an old quarrel between himself and Herod. And so it proved to be. The two magistrates made friends over the trial of the Savior.HH 335.5

    Amid the insults of the mob, Jesus was hurried to Herod. “When Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad.” He had “heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.” This Herod was the one whose hands were stained with the blood of John the Baptist. When Herod first heard of Jesus, he was filled with terror and said, “This is John ... raised from the dead!” Mark 6:16. Yet he wanted to see Jesus. Now he had an opportunity to save the life of this Prophet, and the king hoped to banish forever from his mind the memory of that bloody head brought to him on a platter. He also wanted to satisfy his curiosity and thought that if he offered Christ a prospect of release, He would do anything that was asked of Him.HH 335.6

    When the Savior was brought in, the priests and elders excitedly urged their accusations against Him. But Herod commanded silence. He ordered that Jesus’ chains be removed, at the same time charging His enemies with treating Him roughly. He as well as Pilate was satisfied that Christ had been accused through hatred and envy.HH 336.1

    Herod questioned Christ in many words, but the Savior kept a profound silence. At the command of the king, the lame and maimed were then called in, and Herod ordered Christ to prove His claim by working a miracle. Jesus did not respond, and Herod continued to urge: “Show us a sign that You have the power that rumor has credited to You.” But the Son of God had taken upon Himself human nature, and He must do as we must do in like circumstances. Therefore, He would not work a miracle to save Himself the pain and humiliation that we must endure in a similar situation.HH 336.2

    Herod promised that if Christ would perform some miracle, He would be released. Fear came over Christ’s accusers that He would now work a miracle. Such a manifestation would prove a deathblow to their plans and might even cost them their lives. Raising their voices, the priests and rulers declared, “He is a traitor, a blasphemer! He works His miracles through the powers of the prince of devils!”HH 336.3

    Herod’s conscience was now far less sensitive than when he had trembled with horror at Herodias’s request for the head of John the Baptist. His moral perceptions had become more and more degraded by his self-indulgent, immoral life. He could even boast of the punishment he had inflicted on John for daring to rebuke him. And now he threatened Jesus, declaring that he had power to condemn Him. But Jesus gave no indication that He heard a word.HH 336.4

    Herod was irritated by this silence. It seemed to show complete indifference to his authority. Again he angrily threatened Jesus, who still remained unmoved and silent.HH 336.5

    Christ’s mission was not to gratify idle curiosity. If He could have spoken any word to heal sin-sick souls, He would not have kept silent. But He had no words for those who trample truth under their unholy feet. Herod had rejected the truth spoken to him by the greatest of the prophets, and he was to receive no other message. The Majesty of heaven had not a word for him. Christ’s lips were closed to the haughty king who felt no need of a Savior.HH 336.6

    Herod’s face grew dark with rage. He angrily denounced Jesus as an impostor. Then he said to Christ, “If You will give no evidence of Your claim, I will deliver You up to the soldiers and the people. If You are an impostor, death is what You deserve. If You are the Son of God, save Yourself by working a miracle.”HH 336.7

    No sooner had he spoken these words than, like wild beasts, the crowd rushed upon their prey. They dragged Jesus this way and that, and Herod joined the mob in trying to humiliate the Son of God. If the Roman soldiers had not intervened, the Savior would have been torn in pieces.HH 337.1

    “Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, [and] arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe.” The Roman soldiers joined in this abuse. All that these corrupt soldiers and the Jewish dignitaries could unleash was heaped upon the Savior. Yet His patience did not fail.HH 337.2

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