Friday in the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:25-26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19-22

Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews

Jesus was condemned to die by the Romans because he was a political threat, someone who might lead a rebellion against Rome.  The charge was utterly ridiculous as Pilate himself understood.  Jesus told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world, and there is no proof either biblical or in other ancient sources that suggests that Jesus ever had any intention of leading a revolt.  (I understand that some misguided “scholars” have tried to paint Jesus as a “revolutionary peasant.”  As John Calvin said, “Man’s nature is a perpetual factory of idols.”)

But Pilate had to crucify Jesus for some reason and titles such as “Christ,” “Messiah,” or “King” were all the reasons he needed.  Now it was the custom that the Romans would post the charge or crime that the condemned man committed to shame him and teach others not to commit the same error.  (By the way, Roman citizens were not crucified, only subject peoples.)  So Pilate had the crime Jesus committed written and placed on the cross, and in three languages so that no one might miss it: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”  One wonders if Pilate placed the inscription so prominently as to embarrass the chief priests who, indeed, complained, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said I am King of the Jews,’” only to be rebuffed by Pilate’s curt response, “What I have written I have written.”

“The King of the Jews,” that’s what the chief priests said he said.  Though Jesus did not deny that he was a king when others called him so, Jesus never proclaimed himself a king, and indeed refused the honor when some wanted to take him by force (John 6:15).  The chief priests falsely accused him of proclaiming himself a king.  And yet, he was king, is king, and will one day be hailed as such when every knee bows and tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10).  The irony is that the pagan procurator, Pilate, who laughed at the suggestion that Jesus was a king, writes the truth of the matter for all to read, much to the chagrin of the very people who rejected him as king, while falsely accusing him of trying to be one!  It’s a tangled web, but that’s what sin does: tangles things up.  And yet, God makes even the devil preach His holy word, which is what Pilate does here; and God has a way of using unbelievers to shame His own people, which people are shamed here.  And still through all of man’s sin, scheming, and hardness of heart, God’s triumph comes shining through as will be made clear on the third day. Yes, Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary and conceived by the Spirit, is Son of David, King of the Jews (Luke 1:68-75).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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