32527 Called Jesus.
Old Pilate called for a basin of water, walked out before the crowd, washed his hands and said: 'I wash my hands of His blood. I find no fault in Him.'
If he had washed his old black heart at the same time, he would have been a clean man.
There has come from across the seas a book bearing the strange title, Letters From Hell. The introduction was written by George McDonald. In that book Pilate is represented in the lost world bending over a stream of water. (I think the author must have gotten his wires crossed. A stream of water in Hell would be the limit, according to my idea. That is just like the average fool novel writer anyway.) Pilate is represented bending over, dipping his hands in the water. Someone touches him on the shoulder and says: "Will they never be clean?" And with a shriek of agony that rang through the lost world he cried: "Oh, will they never be clean! No!"
Poor Pilate! The blood of Jesus has been on you for nineteen hundred years in Hell. It will be on you through an unending eternity. You had your chance that day in front of the gang in Jerusalem, but you were willing to let them nail Him to the cross rather than stand by the side of Jesus Christ and His truth.
"What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?"
He didn't have the courage of his convictions. He was convinced that Jesus was right. Oh, if Pilate had bared his back and said, "This Man is on the level; you can take me and crucify me, but you can't touch one hair of His head"-he would have taken his stand in the same company with Joseph of Arimathea and other famous men. We would have been glad to name our children after him. But tonight we speak his name with ignominy and repulsion. He had his chance. He was a miserable, white-livered coward.
Now, when old Pilate heard that Herod was in town he was glad to get rid of Jesus. So he shoved Him over to Herod. Herod thought that Jesus was sort of a sleight-of-hand performer- -legerdemain, Chautauqua entertainer and had a bunch of high rollers; so he asked Jesus to come up and perform a few miracles just to entertain the crowd. Jesus answered the old fox never a word.
So they secured Him and sent Him back to old Pilate. Herod had heard John the Baptist preaches. John had said: 'It isn't right for you to have your brother Philip's wife.' Herod wanted Jesus and his brother Philip's wife, too; but he could not have both. So he turned down Jesus and kept his Brother Philip's wife, which was against the law.
Is William Jennings Bryan a fool? Is he a believer in Jesus Christ as the Son of God? What are you going to do with the Christ of these Christian men?
Was the late William McKinley a fool? When the assassin's bullet struck him down at Buffalo, fondly and reverently did he pray that he would be spared. When they gave him the aesthetic and the doctors bent over him to catch what might have been his last words, he was muttering the Lord's Prayer. We smiled, dried our tears, shook hands and forgot our political differences.
Then the relapse came and we were informed that he was growing worse. They sent for his wife. He looked up and said: "It's God's will. His way, not ours, be done." McKinley started to repeat, "Nearer, My God to Thee, Nearer to Thee," and the lamp of life flickered and went out forever.
Down the streets of Buffalo went the funeral procession and the band played, "Nearer, My God to Thee." The railroad track from Buffalo to Washington was lined with people who stood with bowed, uncovered heads and tear-stained cheeks as they sang, "Nearer, My God to Thee."
What are you to do with the Christ when from the north, the south, the east and the west the trumpet of Gabriel sounds and the unsaved dead come out of their graves to the last judgment?
Lost! What will you do then? You can sit out there now and sneer at me. You can damn me, call me crude, and illiterate; but old man, I have you beat.
Now, our acceptance with God is going to depend on what we do with Jesus. The vilest sinner on earth, if he accepts Jesus Christ, will be accepted; and the very moments you accept Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven. If you reject Jesus, God will spurn and reject you.
In the Bank of England is a machine--a marvellous mechanism. It is used to weigh gold sovereigns. The Bank of England never takes gold for its face value, as our banks do. They always weigh gold because gold will wear off by circulation.
I had a friend out in Illinois who had some $45,000 in gold. He sent it to the First National Bank of Chicago for deposit. They weighed it for him and it was $1,500 shy on weight. The Bank of England always weighs gold. A man sits at the machine there; the gold is dropped through a little slit and falls on a pan. If it is standard weight it tips to the right; if it is a fraction short it tips to the left. It never makes a mistake. Never! It saves the Bank of England hundreds of pounds of sterling every year.
That is nothing compared with the scrutiny that we will leave to pass through when we stand before God. We can't muster because of our wealth or intellectual standing. It is because of our acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ; then our becoming children of God depends on what becomes of Jesus.
There is an insidious heresy: the teaching about the universal Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, the teaching that we are all one flesh. But if you are not a child of God, you are a creature of God. We are all creatures of God. (Nobody is a child of God but a Christian.) You are my brother in the flesh; that is, you are human and I am human. But you are not my brother in the spirit unless you are a Christian. God is the Creator of us all, but God is the Father of none but those who believe in Jesus Christ.
There was one way you came into the world--you were born. There is one way you will get into Heaven--you must be born again. You have had a physical birth. You must have a spiritual birth and that must come through Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
Does Jesus Christ lack anything in your esteem? Wherein does He fail to measure up to your ideal? Where could He improve? What could you suggest that would improve Jesus Christ? I would be very glad to know.
A man said: "If you can find me an absolutely flawless character, I will worship Him." I challenge all the infidels on earth or in Hell to find one flaw in the character of Jesus Christ.
Kelvin, Agassiz, Newton, Spencer are all prominent in the scientific world.
Caesar, Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, Wellington, Washington, Grant, Lee is all powerful in military warfare.
Mightier in England than the king; mightier in Germany than the emperor; mightier in America than Washington or Lincoln or Roosevelt or Bryan or Jefferson is the name of Jesus Christ.
That is the name that unhorsed Saul of Tarsus. That is the name that knocked him blind on the highway. That is the name that knocked Newton to the deck of the ship. That is the name that holds of the world's population in its magic grip and power.
It is an encouraging name. Go to the cemetery, to the graves and read the epitaphs on the tombstones of the people who used to rule twenty-five or forty years ago. Oh, none so poor as to do them honour today.
Mighty names of earth will perish. All the great-Caesar, Cleopatra, Nero, Charlemagne, Gregory VI, Catherine de Medici, Catherine of Russia, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Madam du Barry, Madam Pompadour--are gone.
We will perpetuate it in art. There will be other Raphael’s, there will be other Michelangelo’s, there will be other Muriel’s, there will be other daVinci’s, there will be other Rubens, there will be other Corot’s, other Millets, other Munkacsy's to paint "Christ Before Pilate."
We will perpetuate the name of Jesus in art, in literature and in song.
There will be other Cowper’s who will write, "God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform: He plants His footsteps in the sea, And rides upon the storm."
There will be other Top lady’s who will write, "The Rock of Ages." There will be other Blesses who will write, "Almost persuaded." There will be other Fanny Crosby’s who will write, "Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross"; "Pass Me Not, 0 Gentle Saviour"; "Once I Was Blind--Now I Can See." There will be other Charles Wesley’s who will write, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul, Let Me to Thy Bosom Fly."
We will perpetuate it in architecture, Catholicism and Protestantism. There will be other St. Pauls; there will be other St. Peters; there will be other St. Johns, St. Johns the Divine; there will be other Kremlins at Moscow; there will be other Cathedrals at Cologne; there will be other Madeleine’s at Paris.
Oh, you can cut, burn and crucify if you will, but if he who thus dies stands for some immortal truth, his soul will merge from his mutilated casket and go sweeping triumphantly down the halls of time.
Look at the love the pure and holy bear Him. See what an object of love He is with them in Heaven. Look at Him when He got ready to come to this old earth. The angels had to come down to sing to the shepherds, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
Look at Him in His baptism of John, when God the Father stopped making worlds and leaned over the battlements of Heaven and said: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17).
Herschel the astronomer was a Christian. So were Jonathan Edwards, Blackstone, Gladstone, Washington, Lincoln, Lee, Queen Victoria, Grant--honoured in his tour around the world as no man has ever been honoured before. When Grant reached Jerusalem a feast was proposed for him, and he said: "No, not in this city where my Saviour bled and died. Let me get alone; I want to weep."
Look at the love the pure and holy bear Him.
"What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?"