The Divine Kingdom
Luke 23:1-3
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate.

Deeply interesting is this interview between the Nazarene and the Roman, the Jewish Prisoner and the Roman judge; the one then brought forth as a malefactor and now seated on the throne of the world, the other then exalted on the seat of power and now sunk to the depth of universal pity if not of universal scorn. "Art thou a King?" asks the latter, in the tone of lofty superiority. "I am," replies the former, in the tone of calm and profound assurance. W hat, then, was this kingdom of which he spoke? What was that kingdom of God, that kingdom of heaven, that "kingdom of the truth" (John 18:37) which he foretold, which he came to this world and which he laid down his life to establish? It was the sovereignty of God over all human souls. God's claim - which is not founded on prescription, nor upon force, but upon righteousness - is his claim on the reverence, the affection, the obedience, of those whom he has created, preserved, enriched, who owe to him all that he demands of them. With us, who have revolted from his rule, this means nothing less than the restoration of our loyalty, and thus our return to his likeness and to his favor as well as to his sway. We look at -

I. THE ORIGINALITY OF THE CONCEPTION. We plume ourselves upon the originality of our ideas, upon our "creations." But when did the mind of man launch on the sea of human thought such a conception as this kingdom of God? Men had entertained the idea of founding by force a widely extended empire which should command the outward homage and tribute of hundreds of thousands of men, and should last for many generations. But who ever designed a creation like this glorious "kingdom of heaven" - a world-wide sway embracing all living souls whatsoever, exercised by an unseen King, in which the service of the lip, and even that of the life, would be of no account at all without the homage of the heart and the willing subjection of the spirit, characterized by universal righteousness, and crowned by abounding peace and lasting joy?

II. THE IMMENSITY OF THE WORK TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. For what would be involved in the establishment of such a kingdom as this? Not only the formation and maintenance of a new religion that should hold up its head and keep its course amid surrounding faiths, but the utter intolerance and complete subversion of every other creed and cultus; the emptying of all the temples and all the synagogues in every laud; the dissolution of all the venerable religious institutions which were rooted in the prejudice, fixed in the affections, wrought into the habits and the lives of men; it meant the establishment in the convictions and in the conscience of mankind of a faith which came into direct collision with all its intellectual pride, with all its social selfishness, with all its powerful passions.

III. ITS SUBLIMITY AS A PURPOSE AND A HOPE. Not merely to ameliorate the circumstances and conditions of a country, or of the world at large. That would have been a noble purpose; but that would have been slight and small in comparison with the aim of Jesus Christ. His view was to put away the source of all poverty and sorrow and death; to "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself;" to found in the hearts and therefore in the lives of men a kingdom of holiness, and therefore of true and lasting blessedness; to restore to God his rightful heritage in the love of his children, and, at the same time, to restore to men everywhere their high and glorious portion in the favor and friendship, in the likeness and glory, of God. Was ever scheme, was ever hope like this - so divinely new, so magnificently great, so unapproachably sublime? 1. The way into this kingdom is by a humble, living faith. 2. The way on to its higher places is the service of sacrificial love. The path which takes us to the cross is the way to the throne. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

WEB: The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate.

The Conduct of Christ Contrasted with the Conduct of Other Public Characters
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