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John 19:17-42 "THE DEBATE GOES ON"
Day 308 – John 19
THE DEBATE GOES ON
If a passer-by were to look at the superscription on the cross of Jesus, they would be forced to wonder what that title meant.
“Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.”
The first part was easy enough to comprehend. It simply stated the hometown where Jesus spent His boyhood, although his birthplace was really Bethlehem. The second part of the superscription was a little bit more difficult to digest. What did this term “King of the Jews” really mean?
To the chief priests, this superscription was not acceptable. It did not state things clearly enough to satisfy them. They wanted any passer-by to read and understand that Jesus was never a king in any sense of the word! Yet, the fact was that they had charged Jesus with this treasonous crime! They had insisted to Pilate that Jesus posed a threat not only in Judea, but also to Rome! He who would be king must surely be seen as a threat to the authority of Rome! If the Jews were right, then of course Pilate would look an even greater fool if he were to accede to this latest demand!
Pilate had already complied with many of the demands of the Jews – far too many! The Roman governor refused to change the superscription. Let all passers-by decide for themselves what that title meant! Reading it superficially, it could mean that Jesus was indeed “The King of the Jews” and Rome had to wield its power against Him by putting Him to death!
But there were few casual readers that day! Who in Jerusalem did not know of the many debates that Jesus had with the chief priests and their scribes? The latter had always come out of those debates badly shaken! The power, the logic, and the depth of insight that Jesus displayed and more could not be surpassed!
Who had not heard, or personally seen, the many mighty miracles that Jesus had performed – not only in Jerusalem but also in Galilee and other parts of the land of Israel? Even the Samaritans were known to have come to have faith in this Person called Jesus! Could He not indeed have been called the King of the Jews, minus the usual pomp and pageantry associated with kings?
The question of the Kingship of Jesus would go on and on. The superscription that Pilate had written would be a talking point for many days to come. The Roman governor had refused to change the title, and there was nothing that the Jews could do about that at all!
To all who had believed in Jesus, He was the King of their hearts, and the Lord of their lives. Those who had heard Him and had been persuaded by His teachings honoured Him as The King of Israel, even though the strength of their faith did not allow them to stand up for Him publicly. To them Jesus had indeed proven Himself to be their King!
THE KINGSHIP OF JESUS IS NOT DEPENDENT UPON MAN’S RECOGNITION
The Kingship of Jesus had nothing to do with whether men rejected or accepted Him as King. He was King according to the prophecies of the ancient Scriptures. Rejection of Jesus in no way detracted from the fact that He was portrayed clearly in the Scriptures as King!
Jesus was not in the least affected by what the Jews said about Him. Neither was He moved by what Pilate wrote on the superscription. He knew the Scriptures, and He fulfilled one after another – as only the true King of Israel could!
The prophet Isaiah had prophesied that God would give to Israel a Saviour. He would sit on the throne of David to order it and to establish it. The chief priests may not have believed this had reference to Jesus, and yet their unbelief did not take away the prophetic significance of Jesus as the Son of David, the Saviour!
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His Name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end.
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Micah was another prophet who preached about the day when God would send a Ruler to Israel.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel.
Whose goings forth are from of old,
Zechariah added his voice to the prophetic chorus proclaiming the coming of the Messianic King.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.”