“‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate. ‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied.” (Mark 15: 2)
So who is Jesus? Throughout his ministry many people asked him this question. Since these words have been spoken many more have also asked similar questions. It is fair to say that some people just don’t care what the answer is, but he just might be the single most important person in the history of the world, and if that is the case then shouldn’t we at least give a few moments to ponder the question for ourselves.
I believe the answer to this question is simply that Jesus is the way we should live, the truth about how we should live, and indeed life itself. But this statement is of absolutely no use to me if I haven’t first established his authority. Is he my king?
It is easy to ignore Jesus as a King. He certainly didn’t act like a king. Most of the time he was walking around among the poor and ill and outcast from society. He rarely, if ever, laid his head in a comfortable bed. His loyal court was the dust and sands of Israel, his courtiers were fishermen, tax collectors, and an odd assortment of other people.
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53: 2b-3)
But does this make him any less of a king? “This is what the Lord says—the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” (Isaiah 49: 7)
Indeed it is his very behaviour, his humility and silence toward those in authority – his gentleness and compassion towards those in need, and his fierce anger and aggression towards those who thought they knew but had got it so wrong – it is these things that help me to see he was truly King of Kings and had nothing to prove to those in authority except to say ‘You have said so’.
Jesus is not going to deny his position just to save his life, but neither is he going to shout it from the rooftops. It was not up to him to claim the title he was due, he knew his Father would do that in his own time. Jesus only compulsion was to keep the commands God have given him. And in doing that it is clear to me that he truly is the greatest of all kings.
“In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6: 13-15)
What was the command that we are instructed to keep in this verse? “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6: 11-12)
This is what it means to be a Christian. If you believe that Jesus truly is the King then, as I mentioned in the last devotional, stop analysing and looking for deeper meanings and proper interpretations. If you do that you are just as likely to completely miss the very thing you need. Accept Jesus at his word, and having taken on board his Spirit, understand what he has asked you to do and then just do it.