For 21st Century Americans the idea of serving a king is bizarre. One person having authority over life and death, of absolute rule is unthinkable, medieval, even barbaric. We believe we have evolved to a more sophisticated, enlightened way of life. So, if someone were to say to you, “here is your king”, you might be uncomfortable, maybe even outraged at the thought of giving someone total control of your life.
2,000 years ago, the religious leaders of Israel had similar thoughts. The Christ was only fit to be their Messiah, their King, as long as he served their wants. Their idea of a king was someone whom they could rule. The priests and their political allies wanted nothing to do with Jesus. He offered the kingdom of heaven, they were only concerned with the kingdom of earth, their kingdom.
Their outrage grew to fierce, bitter hatred. Jesus, who had been healing, teaching, performing miracles and fulfilling Scripture among them for the last three years did not praise what they praised. He was not the king they wanted. Their anger became so violent that when Pilate unwittingly actually presented the King of Heaven to them as their King, they responded with a cry for his crucifixion!
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
Before you become too disgusted with the Jews, think carefully about your response to the rule of God in your life. It is too easy to forget that you and I have dual citizenship. One is our earthly country. But the other citizenship has to do with heaven. And heaven is ruled by a King, an absolute Sovereign to whom we owe allegiance for each thought, word and deed. Sadly, we are often quick to throw off his rule as easily and as angrily as the Jewish leaders did.
Today is Good Friday. I am writing this about noon, the exact time when Jesus was taken to the cross and executed for my rebellion. I am too much like the religious leaders who wanted their own king, a king who would serve their desires.
Join with me and pray for a heart that will respond in praise, gratitude, humility and obedience to the words, “Here is your King.”