Saturday, 11 April 2009

John 19v19-24: The glory of Christ as King

Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

Here we begin to see God’s hand behind these brutal events. To ensure Jesus’ identity is not missed, he moves Pilate to attach this sign. And just look at the end of verse 20: God ensures that whether Jew, Roman or Greek look on, all will see.

Well what irony. The onlookers esteem the glory of a golden throne in their Kings, the glory of an armed victory. Yet what they are witnessing is the greatest King on the greatest of thrones, winning the greatest of victories. Here he defeats sin, death, the devil and hell itself.

“Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” He IS the promised one. He IS the God-King who was to come and establish a kingdom of justice and righteousness and peace. He IS the one to rescue his people from their oppression. But he does it through the weakness of the cross. He does it by there forgiving our sin, so that he can then reconcile us to God, renew our hearts, recreate our world and raise us to enjoy it eternally.

And if we might doubt that this was always God’s plan, we see the soldiers throw lots for Jesus’ last garment. And do note its significance: verse 24 [READ v24b]

All this had been predicted by God himself. The quote is from Psalm 22, a Psalm written by King David. It reflects Christ’s sense of God-forsakenness. It described his rejection. It promises his ultimate deliverance, and even looks to all nations turning to the LORD.

A third and much ignored aspect of Christ’s sufferings, is his humiliation. As simply a man he deserved honour. He was the most dignified, most human, most gentle and utterly good man who had ever lived. But he was also the Messiah, God and King.

Yet he was mocked, ridiculed, stripped naked and hung up for the world to see. He was crucified between criminals. And when the whole world should have looked on in terror, soldiers were so uninterested that they gambled for his clothes underneath him.

But our response is not unclear. This is “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” We are to believe, and we are therefore to bow our lives before him.

True faith, saving faith is not just to assent to the fact that Jesus is God and King. It is to treat him as such. God have mercy on us that we so often don’t.