John 19

John 19 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

Having nothing substantial to charge Jesus with before a Roman court, the Jewish leaders said that Jesus claimed to be the king of the Jews inferring that he was instigating an uprising against the Romans. Although Jesus never denied being the King of the Jews, or even being the King of Kings, his desire was not to overthrow King Herod nor to oust the Roman authorities from Judah. On every occasion that the people tried to declare him as their king, Jesus purposely withdrew from the crowd. When Peter tried to usher in Christ’s kingdom by force, Jesus told him to put away his sword. And when Pilate asked about his kingdom, Jesus said that it was not of this world. But Jesus did speak about the kingdom of God again and again, proving the power of that kingdom through the healing of the sick and the casting out of demons.

After hearing from Jesus himself, Pilate certainly did not think that Jesus was seeking to overthrow any regime and many times tried to convince the crowds that he was innocent but to no avail. He chose to have Jesus flogged merely to assuage the crowd. But the soldiers had their way with Jesus. In the process of flogging him, they twisted together a crown of thorns and forced it upon his head. Then they found a purple robe and put it upon his shoulders bowing before him in mockery. Each of them were taking their turns genuflecting before him then striking him in derision.

Although this was evil in itself, the offense of the Jews was much worse, considering the revelation that had been given them concerning the Christ. When Pilate tried to release Jesus, the Jews accused him of being an enemy of Caesar’s for releasing a man who had made himself a king. Being threatened in this way, Pilate relented and pronounced his judgment, but in doing so, he told them that he would be crucifying their king. At that point, the chief priests said the most blasphemous thing yet: “We have no king but Caesar.” You would expect to hear them say, “We have no king but the Lord.” Instead they swear allegiance to a pagan emperor.

This should not surprise us too much. As human beings, we were created to be subjects of the Lord our king as his dependents. But in rejecting the Lord and the Lord’s anointed, humans will naturally find someone or something else to sit upon the throne, no matter how heinous it seems or how empty the prospects. Today, in our country, many are turning to the government to be their god and savior. Others who are merely caught in the middle don’t know where to turn, but they are easily impelled to go along with the majority when they see the power that they wield. But there will always be some who look to Jesus on the cross in his humiliation and say, “Truly, this was the Son of God” and bow before the rightful king of this world in worship.