“Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.’” (John 18:37, NASB)
There could be no more dramatic scene. Pontius Pilate, the one Roman able to acquit or condemn, faced this castigated Jew whose life was demanded by His enemies. The procurator was turned into a witness to Jesus’ innocence— “I find no fault in this man”—and yet he succumbed to the pressure of being accused of disloyalty to Rome and ordered the crucifixion of the Christ.
The baby swaddled in the manger was marked for sacrifice since before He was born. His name of Jesus meant that He would save His people from their sins. The promises and warnings to Mary. The prediction of Simeon. The proclamation of John the Baptist. Jesus’ own predictions of His death and resurrection. The hatred of His own people. The prophetic purpose of God the Father in Isaiah 53 that all our sin would be laid on this Lamb of God.
Jesus was born a king, and yet the king had to die to redeem all sinners. Gethsemane proves that He did not have a death wish, but He had the will to obey God unto death. All of His life, starting with the Christmas events, culminated in His confrontation with Pilate and the execution that was ordered. Jesus went on to declare that “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice,” indicating the element of faith that His kingdom requires. Pilate’s answer of “What is truth?” fell far short of that required faith.
All mankind continues to be confronted with this call to truth: that Jesus was born to die for our sins, and we need to accept that sacrifice as counting for us. He was born a beacon to mankind, the light of the world, the baby marked for redemptive death, the one who draws us to God and who lives as our king.