“Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, ‘Behold your King!'” John 19:14
I once had someone make the comment to me that “Jesus is only King of the Jews, not of the Gentiles.” And I found that such a sad comment. And here we have Pilate announcing that You, Jesus, are King of the Jews. It was even written on the placard over the cross. Not only that, but it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. Sure, the Jews were dispersed all over and spoke all these languages because so many had returned for the Passover feast. But it reminds me of something that Jesus said in reply to Pilate.
Jesus didn’t answer Pilate’s question of where he was from. “So Pilate said to Him, ‘You will not speak to me? Don’t you know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?’ Jesus answered him, ‘You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above…'” (John 19:10-11) Pilate realized that You, Jesus, were not of this world. Why was he thinking about that? Because the Jews had said that Your fault was that You made Yourself the Son of God. What was Pilate’s reaction when he heard that saying? Scripture says that he was even more afraid. How afraid was he and why would he be afraid?
The word for afraid here is “phobeo.” According to Skip Moen it “carries the sense of fleeing. It is a verb about running away scared to death. TDNT points out that the use of this word always places a human being in an encounter with some force, often a force that cannot be controlled.” So, what if he is beyond scared? Why? Because this man that he finds no fault in, just might be who He says He is. Because this man is not afraid under his authority. Because this man isn’t like anyone else that has stood before him before. Because this man says that it’s by His authority that Pilate even has any authority over Him now.
Pilate’s wife has a dream and warns Pilate not to harm this man. He knows the Jews are jealous of Him. He sees something. And then he “just happens” to write for all to see, “King of the Jews” in the universal languages of all people. He could have written “king of the Jews” but he didn’t. He wrote “King.”
So, is Jesus King only of the Jews? Or is Jesus King over all? Listen to what Paul says in 1 Timothy 6. “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession…” What is the good confession? That He is King. That He is Lord of life. That He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is what the Kingship of Jesus is all about. And it was for Pilate as much as it was for the Jews. And He was for all the people of all the different languages.
Paul’s charge to Timothy goes on saying, “keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will display at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” Wow! If Jesus isn’t King over everything and everyone, I don’t know who is! Paul was agreeing with Jesus’ confession before Pilate.
The King James Version uses the word “potentate” instead of”sovereign.” A potentate is someone who has the power and authority to rule over others. Now, imagine in Pilate’s time, Jesus saying that He had the power and authority to control Pilate’s decision. Do you realize that in essence He was saying that He was even above Caesar? Because if Pilate was under Caesar’s orders, and Caesar was considered the supreme Potentate, the ruler over all other lesser rulers, here was a “man” who was unafraid to say His authority was what would rule the day.
But Your authority, Lord, did not end with the Jews, or with Romans. Paul says You are the King of kings. You are not just the King of the Jews, and the King over Caesar, but You are the King over all kings on the face of the earth. You are the Power above all powers. You are the Authority above all authorities. You are the Controller over all controllers. And You alone have life, because You are Life.
So, the question remains for each of us the same as it was when this account took place. You have been declared before each of us as King of kings, as the one in control and over all life. Will we just read the inscription and walk on. Will we wag our tongues and fingers and follow You as a good man or will we fall on our faces before You as our King of kings, the One who has complete authority over us? Will I see You for who You are or will I make You fit into my picture? What will I do with the King of kings?
Well, on May 7, 2012, someone made the comment to me that You were only King of the Jews and not of the Gentiles. I don’t know why anyone would want to believe that. I want to know that I have a Ruler who cares for me and has the supreme authority to do so and the power to fulfill all His promises. I want to know that my Ruler is in control and I have nothing to fear. And I want Him to be in full control of me because it’s the safest and loveliest place to be. You’re not a king like the others. You are my King, and I am Your child. And I consider it the greatest privilege on earth to be able to call You my King, and for it to be true, that You are so concerned for me.
It made my heart ache, to hear that You were not ascribed the greatness that is already Yours. And I shared from 1 Timothy. But sometimes, to continue to explain when someone doesn’t want to see, would be just arguing. But the truth is what is in Your Word, what is in all of it, and the testimony that You have shown us in our lives. And even if others deny, I have come to believe and experience what they have not, what I hope they will some day. Because to know You as King and Savior, and to know that You still love and cherish me, guide and protect me, and give me life in You, I mean real life moment by moment, is just absolutely freeing and empowering.
So, Pilate had to make a decision that day. The Truth, the King of kings was standing before him. Would he dwell on the Truth, or on the thoughts of other men? We have that same choice before us. The right decision will change our lives and our perceptions.
That day, I decided I will not focus on arguments that are contrary to what God has shown me in Scripture. If someone is seeking I will share. But, if they are not open, I will not until the Holy Spirit opens the door. I will remain silent and continue to believe and rejoice in my heart. And I will meditate on His truths that sing in my Spirit and cast out those thoughts that would cloud or discourage. So, when I was alone, I did just that. And I was not defeated or discouraged but joyful and victorious because I let my thoughts dwell on the One.
Though my father does not call you King,
You are every bit the sovereign King of me.
And everything You were to Israel true,
You are to me because it’s wholly You.
So people follow what their hearts desire.
My heart will follow You, You are my Fire,
My King, My Lord, My Savior, Everything.
No matter what they say I know, I sing,
With Spirit leaping, bursting in my chest.
For should I ever change what I believe,
Cast me hence, Your Holy Spirit should I grieve!
You Are Who You Have Shown Yourself to Be:
Father, Son, and Spirit, King of me!
And, Oh, that I had words to say Your fill,
And glorify Your name in full, but still,
No human words could e’er contain
The wonder and the awe of Your full name.
But yet I know You not in word but Spirit
And in Your very Presence abide in it.
So words may fail and even wisdom err
But You in all You are in me prevail.
This is one of my favorite verses from the Complete Jewish Bible and I want it to be my testimony, “I will bless Adonai at all times. His praise will always be in my mouth. When I boast, it will be about Adonai. The humble shall hear of it and be glad!” Psalm 34:1-2