King Jesus, Our Leader
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him … and a superscription also was written over him … THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Luke 23:33,38 (KJV)
When the chief priests and scribes took Jesus to Pilate, their accusation was “we have found this man subverting our nation. He . . . claims to be Christ, a King” (Luke 23:20). The Jewish leaders were clever enough to realize that a charge of blasphemy would mean nothing to Pilate. Insurrection against Rome, however, could rouse the Roman governor’s anger. Therefore, throughout Jesus’ trial the Jews emphasized that Jesus claimed to be a king.
Pilate insisted that Jesus had done nothing worthy of death; he did not detect an insurrectionist in the quiet man who stood before him (Luke 23:15, 22). However, he succumbed to the pressure of the Jewish leaders and the crowd. He sentenced Jesus to death. Still Pilate managed to publicize his belief that Jesus was innocent: he arranged for the inscription fastened to the top of the cross to read, “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.” And when the Jewish leaders objected, Pilate refused to change it (John 19:19-22).
Our modern English word king comes from an Old English word, cyning, which meant “leader of the people.” No one has ever been more worthy of that title than Jesus. And one day, every human being on earth will realize that Jesus is not just “King of the Jews,” but that He is also the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).
American poet Jennie Hussey wrote the lyrics to “Lead Me to Calvary.” She reminds us of what our response to Jesus, our royal leader, should be:
King of my life I crown thee now, Thine shall the glory be
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow, Lead me to Calvary.
Lest I forget Gethsamene, Lest I forget thy agony
Lest I forget thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.
If I crown Jesus “King of My Life,” I’ll give Him glory no matter what obstacles I encounter and follow Him no matter what path He takes. I’ll also remember that His agony and His love have provided all that I truly need—redemption. That realization should prompt all of us to pray:
May I be willing, Lord, to bear, Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share, Thou hast borne all for me.
Read Matthew 27:54 and Luke 23:47. Pilate was not the only Roman who believed that Jesus was innocent. According to these verses, who else believed? What did they understand that Pilate did not?
What does King Jesus lead us toward? Consider what the psalmists say in the following passages: Psalm 5:8, 25:5, 139:24, and 143:10.
To learn more about Pilate, read Pilate in the Dig into Easter section.
To read the lyrics of “Lead Me to Calvary” go to http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/e/leadmetc.htm
Denise K. Loock