John xix. 19.

Robert Hawker

"And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was,
—John xix. 19.

My soul! thou hast not yet read the inscription over the cross of Christ, in thine evening meditations. Do not withdraw from the sacred spot, until thou hast read it, and also, through divine teaching, understood its blessed design. Pilate meant it in reproach: but Jehovah over-ruled the design, to give his dear Son due honour. It was written in the three learned languages, in Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. And it is the best of all learning to be able to read it in the light in which the Lord the Spirit caused it to be written. Do thou, almighty Teacher, cause me so to read it! Pilate meant it as Christ's crime; as if to tell the world wherefore he suffered: but, so far is the inscription itself from notifying a crime, that it positively asserts what it was meant to deny. Pilate wished it to be understood that Christ was punished as an usurper: but then he should not have said that he was the king of the Jews, but that he assumed the title; whereas he marks it as a thing perfectly understood; "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews. "Some of Christ's enemies perceived this, and accordingly desired Pilate to alter the words—"write not," say they," the king of the Jews: but that he said, am king of the Jews. "But he who over-ruled the mind of Pilate to write, over-ruled his mind that he should not alter. "What I have written," said he, "I have written. "Yes, Pilate: Jesus was indeed king of the Jews! And now that memorable scripture was fulfilled: "Yet have, I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion;" Psalm ii. 6. Precious Lord Jesus! thy title hath been this from everlasting; and will be to everlasting. It is like thyself, "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever!" And now, my soul, do not lose sight of the testimony of an enemy to the kingship of thy Lord Jesus. Look at the cross now, where thy Redeemer was publicly proclaimed king upon it; and behold how the offence of the cross is ceased. And Oh! for grace to own Jesus now in glory for my King, as Pilate notified to all the world that he was king, when in the lowest humiliation upon earth. And Oh! what rapture will break in upon the soul, when he, whom Pilate proclaimed king upon his cross, shall come as a King upon his throne. Lift up thine head, O my soul, and contemplate thy King, who once was crowned with thorns, now crowned with glory, Hear what the apostle saith, and let thy whole mind be occupied in contemplating the glory that shall be revealed: "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him!" And what is the answer of the church, but "even so; come, Lord Jesus!" Amen.



Robert Hawker

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