This week we’re studying Jesus’ identity as a king. Yesterday we read about how the Jews were anticipating a great kingly figure called the Messiah. People regularly asked if he was the Messiah, and he regularly hinted at it. And yesterday we read about his encounter with Pilate, a Roman authority who asked directly if Jesus was King of the Jews. As a man in authority for Caesar, the Roman Emperor, Pilate needed to know this. Was Jesus leading a rebellion against the Emperor? Was he claiming to be the rightful king of Israel so the Jews would rise up? If so, he needed to stop this.
But Jesus didn’t answer. He was the King of the Jews, but not in the way Pilate was expecting. He wasn’t leading a violent and deadly rebellion; actually he was going to be the victim of violence and death, in order to end all violence and death.
Pilate tried to save him by giving the people an opportunity to release one prisoner as a Passover holiday gift. They chose someone else, not Jesus.
As the story of Jesus’ crucifixion continues, there are two more key passages where Jesus was identified as a very unique king of the Jews:
16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters),1 and they called together the whole battalion.2 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, y“Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and zspitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him.
25 And hit was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”
So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
(Mark 15:31-32 ESV)
Ultimately the joke was on them. He wasn’t just the Messiah, the expected king of Israel. He was the king of the universe.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
(Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)
His identity as a king becomes a mockery, and he lets it happen.
What kind of king would do that?
Question: What do you think this says about Jesus’ kingship?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]