Let us pray: O blessed King, we are such ungrateful subjects! Not a day goes by that we don’t thoughtlessly ignore Your will and commands. Yes, in our own way we mock You today just as those soldiers did on the cross. Lord, forgive us! Stay Your anger and Your wrath! Give us another chance to prove that we can be thankful subjects. Yes, look upon us through the prism of Your love instead of the lens of justice our sins deserve. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM OUR ONLY KING, JESUS CHRIST!
TEXT: Matthew 27: 27-31
Dearly Beloved By Our Glorious King:
We were at a restaurant. The meal was almost done and small talk predominated. My sister Karen asked one of those leading questions designed to get people interacting. It was: “If you could have any position in government, what would it be?” One sister picked: Sec. of State; another: a Judge; and still another: a Senator. They came to me. What did I pick? “A Benevolent Dictator!” Groans and rolling of eyes greeted by answer. But, in fantasy land I stand by that answer. Having absolute power and being answerable to no one certainly would get things done in a hurry. Criminals wouldn’t be able to get off, projects delayed for silly reasons would soon be completed, red tape would cease to exist.—That’s the dictator part. And it would only be possible with the benevolent side to balance the equation. That is, I would have good will towards all and not run roughshod over the innocent.
Of course, that brings to mind Lord Acton’s famous phrase: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Because we’re humans and sinners, there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator. Even if you start out right, eventually you’ll succumb to injustice and tyranny. Such is the history of every leader in human history, except one: Our King, Jesus Christ!
It drips with irony. The cruel soldiers are bored. They are given the task of beating this prophet named Jesus, softening him up because he didn’t kow-tow to the Roman governor, Pontus Pilate, in the accepted manner. So they mock Jesus, beat Him, even dress Him in some old purple robe—an expensive throw-away of Pilate’s or Herod’s because only royalty wore the color purple—while hitting Him on the head with a scepter-like stick and saying: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Later on the cross, they also affixed a sign saying in three language: “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of Jews.” And they had it right. He was and is the King, of the Jews, of all people, but especially God’s chosen ones. Since we are chosen by God to be Christ’s subjects by faith, I guess the truth of that sign is still being played out before our eyes and in our very lives today.
Can you imagine what would have happened if God had used some sort of human democracy to save our souls instead of the benevolent Kingship of Jesus Christ? First, it would have taken centuries for humans to agree that we had a problem called: death, and that we needed to be saved from it. And souls would be lost each day that went by. Second, after years of debate about what to do, the leaders of the masses would set up a commission to further study the problem and make recommendations. More souls would be lost with the death toll mounting. Three, once the commission had its report in hand there would be a time for public comment. That would take more decades with more souls dead and dying. And before implementation of any program, the public mood would change due to new leadership who would scrap the whole agenda and start the process all over again. And the soul killing death toll would just keep increasing.
In ancient times the King didn’t just represent the country, the King WAS the country in bodily form. If the King died without having children, the right of the country to exist was suspect. Everything flowed from the King and His power. His word was Law because He was the law.
So here we have God using His Son, the King of Eternal Glory, to save His lost and fallen people, to redeem them from the clutches of evil, from the stark terror of death, and from the grip of demonic power. Our King agreed to die on a cross in our place in order to wipe out completely, for all time, our debt of evil towards God. And then our King would retake His life back and confirm His sacrificial victory to His subjects by rising from the grave. There would be no layers of bureaucracy, no middle men or women, no red tape. Christ the King would be the ultimate Victim, the final Judge, the acquitted defendant, and the Final Payment for evil and against death. Yes, only our King could make our salvation possible—those ancient soldiers had it right.—“O Hail, King of the Jews!” Jesus earned that title the hard way…..
The only person who has ever walked this earth to whom Lord Acton’s statement does not apply is: Our King, Jesus Christ. Since He possesses absolute power which cannot corrupt Him, doesn’t it only make sense to put your heart, your life, your all into His care? Jesus never let anyone down during His earthly sojourn. He’s not about to start now, either. In fact, His resurrection proves that, doesn’t it? Even in death, exactly what our King said would occur did, He died and arose in three days.
You and I may not be ethnic Jews, but we are spiritual Jews. We are inheritors of God’s promise of grace in Jesus Christ. So, the soldier’s ancient taunt to Him: “Hail! King of the Jews!” has become for us a comforting song of triumph. Yes, Our Lord Reigns, For and Over Us!