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The Sinner's Dilemma

The Sinner's Dilemma

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Published by glennpease
BY ANTHONY W. THOROLD, D.D.

Lord Bishop of Rochester


What shall 1 do with him, which is called Christ ?
Matthew xxvii. 22.
BY ANTHONY W. THOROLD, D.D.

Lord Bishop of Rochester


What shall 1 do with him, which is called Christ ?
Matthew xxvii. 22.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 13, 2013
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THE SIER'S DILEMMABY ATHOY W. THOROLD, D.D.Lord Bishop of RochesterWhat shall 1 do with him, which is called Christ ?Matthew xxvii. 22.PILATE'S questions (in all there are twelveof them) painfully indicate the vacillationsbetween his instinct of justice and his instinctof self-interest ; also make plain in its many-sided and tremendous baseness the culminating 1sin of mankind. Any one reading the Story of the Cross for the first time will naturally wonder(and without raising the average level of humancharacter too high) that not a single voice wasraised in the divine sufferer's favour out of theman}' thousands aided and blessed by His worksCHRIST CRUCIFIED 67of" mercy, some of whom must have heenpresent at that very time to keep the feast. Itis a sort of answer that the priests had sur-rounded Pilate's judgment-scat with a packedcrowd of their own hirelings, and that had therebeen a feeble, a solitary, though a manful, and piti-ful voice raised on his behalf, it would have beeninstantly drowned in the savage cries for blood.It still remains true that as all sorts and condi-tions of men conspired for the death of Jesus,so all shapes and varieties of sin made thatconspiracy possible. The deepest of paganthinkers had long before predicted that if ever aperfect man appeared on earth he would sooneror later be doomed to death, by those who atonce feared and hated his goodness ; and who,foiled in their attempts to make a tool of him,were at least bent on preventing him from beingtheir king. The civil magistrate, the churchruler, the priest, the religious teacher, the soldier,the rabble, the familiar friend, each separately,
 
all conjointly, shout " Crucify him." Each inhis own share of that stupendous crime, mani-fests and represents a special phase of humanwickedness ; all, together, at once produce andcompel the cross.Pilate's sin was that of worldly expediency. All menChrist was not the first martyr to it, nor has He Zf't/n'"^been the last. The sceptical yet not quite oh- c ''"'"' °f " lcdurate pagan, alternating between pity for Christas one beside himself and fear of Him as in68 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYsome sense a servant of God ; mortified by Himbecause He refused to recognise his power ;vexed with Him because He gave him such in-finite trouble, never for one moment hesitated asto His innocence, when Barabbas was preferredto Him, asked with palpable sincerity, " Why,what evil hath He done ? " scourged Him, thatthe sight of His suffering might appease andsatisfy their implacable hatred ; sent Him to die" only to content the people," and because hewished to be considered as " Caesar's friend."Caiaphas, there is reason to suppose from St.John's narrative, was personally convinced of His Messiahship ; but Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that he and his friends wished for.They desired a Messiah who would bring back the days of the glorious Maccabees, raise thestandard of revolt, drive the Roman eagles intothe sea, and restore David's kingdom and David'scity. A Messiah who could say, " Blessed arethe meek, for they shall inherit the earth," and" Except your righteousness exceed the right-eousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shallin no wise enter into the kingdom of Heaven,"was to be swept away with a stern and finalblow. Some one must die for the people ; lethim die, and the sooner the better. The priestscould not endure the spiritual teaching of Jesus.Their religion was outside, and they meant tokeep it there. So with the scribes, who guessed,rightly guessed, just as Stephen's murderers
 
CHRIST CRUCIFIED 69afterwards saw, that the temple, with its services,and sacrifices, and ceremonial, could not stand,if He were to stand. That one sentence of His, which no doubt He spoke in many otherplaces than Sychar, " God is a spirit," meant thedethroning of Jerusalem and the spiritualising olworship. They Were formalists, and they meantto be. The soldier, thinking that His claim tobe King of the Jews was an insult to his ownemperor, heaped on Him his cruel scorn, pouredout his vindictive pride on the patient, unresist-ing, sinless Saviour. The mob, fickle, coarse,waiting for signs, ungrateful, brutal over Hishelplessness, and made more bloodthirsty by thesight of His anguish, sank to the lowest con-ceivable infamy of gratuitous and vindictivewickedness. His own familiar friend robbedHim, accepted the sop as a mark of friendship,mockingly asked " Is it I ? " went out into thenight to do his treason ; betrayed Him with thekiss of peace and the old dear word of "master ;"implored them to " hold Him fast," lest per-chance the miserable purchase money should slipthrough his fingers ; then found himself in thepower of the devil and sought death, only torivet his self-made fetters on his wretched spirit,and to begin to learn the tremendous meaningof Christ's boding words, " Woe to him bywhom the Son of Man is betrayed."Well, we confess that sin, we comment on its The sin. to' ' be broughthidcousness, we almost feel as if we were religious home. "70 QUESTIOS OF FAITH AD DUTYourselves for deploring its unsurpassed guilt.We half pity while we condemn Pilate gibbetedon the lips of millions each day and hour of the

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