Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Judges 20:1-17 and John 19:1-22.
John 19:15 “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.” (NIV)
It was the ultimate act of betrayal. The chief priests in Jerusalem were the highest officers and leaders in the Jewish community. They represented centuries of their faith and all of the people. They were meant to be living examples of how to serve God and follow Him faithfully. They were supposed to be the upholders of the Law of Moses and all of their religious traditions. But in one hate-filled answer, they betrayed all that was dear to them and denied God’s authority over them.
What was this act of betrayal? The answer that they gave to Pilate: “We have no king but Caesar.” God was their King and He was their Sovereign. The whole of Jewish history was built upon having no other god or ruler before God. Sure, there had been kings in the past who tried to rule the people as God’s chosen servants, but there was always a struggle between being ruled by God and governed by local kings. In the Book of Judges, the great warrior Gideon refused to be made king with these words: ‘I will not rule over you…the LORD rules over you.’ (Judges 8:22-23).
When the chief priests said to Pilate that only Caesar was their king, they were betraying all of their beliefs in God and trading them in for a foreign despot to rule over them. Their hatred for Jesus was so intense that they were willing to displace God with a Roman Emperor. It was a scandalous act of betrayal and one which doomed Jerusalem. Forty years after this event, the Roman Emperor crushed the priests in Jerusalem and destroyed most of the great city. Allying their faith with a tyrant brought this upon themselves; putting their faith in a political figurehead created a situation where eventually their religion and nation lost God’s protection and wrought calamity on themselves.
As Christians, we are supposed to remind ourselves each day that Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and King. Our allegiance belongs to Him and we are meant to serve His ways by applying His teaching in our daily lives. His words and ways are specifically meant to overrule any notions or ideas that go against God’s Will. Christ is our only King on Earth and in Heaven. If we displace Him with any other being, then just as the chief priests sadly did long ago, we betray Him.
Point to ponder: How often do I let Jesus shape my ideas, opinions, and choices? Am I guilty of rejecting Him in order to follow other people and other ways?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are our King and there is no other power or person who can take Your place. We call ourselves Christians, but we can only prove this to be true by how we embrace and apply Your words. Keep us from displacing Your authority and help us to truly serve You. In Your Holy Name, we earnestly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s church banner designs called ‘Christ is King.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to send John a question or a message, please email him at Traqair@aol.com.