Saturday, November 20, 2010

You get to choose your king

Pilate presents Jesus to the crowd
Ecce Homo (c. 1849-52) - by Honore Daumier

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 18:28-40

TO CHEW ON: "'But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?'
Then they all cried again, saying, 'Not this Man but Barabbas.'" John 18:39-40

Yesterday we read a psalm that praised God's kingly majesty. The psalmist pictured Him clothed in omnipotence, reigning forever from His holiness-adorned palace. It was a grand picture but one that made us feel very tiny, insignificant and unworthy — as we are.

Today we see that omnipotent, eternal king as a person. It's Jesus!

Look at Him, standing alone in the front of Pilate in the Praetorium, even as the religious leaders, who finally have His death in their hands, wait outside inciting the crowd as they gloat.

"Are you the king of the Jews?" Pilate asks.

"You say rightly I am a king..." Jesus answers.

We reflect back over Jesus' life as told to us in the gospels. We have seen him socializing with sinners, touching lepers, scorning the status endowed by possessions and property, living instead the life of a vagabond. Now He stands before Pilate forsaken by even His friends, tired, disheveled, looking altogether pathetic. So this is how a heavenly king handles Himself? He's so unlikely. It's true what Isaiah says of Him: "He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2). He is surely not a king by the company He keeps, His worldly wealth, or His physical appearance. On what basis, then, is He a king?

Listen in as He continues explaining His kingship to Pilate: "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Jesus' claim, that he spoke truth, lived truth, represented (and represents) the Kingdom of Truth is as controversial today as ever. The meaning of His claim, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6), is debated more hotly today than ever, even in some Christian circles.

Today, as in each generation, we are presented with the choice Pilate gave the Jerusalem crowd. Whose claims do we believe? Who will we choose to follow, obey, and give allegiance to? Who will be our king?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I choose You. Please help me to live my everyday life now, as a subject in Your Kingdom of Truth. Amen.

MORE: "Give Me Jesus" by Fernando Ortega

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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