“And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” John 19:17–19
The Jewish people had rejected Jesus.
For three years he traveled their highways and byways healing their sick, blessing their children, and teaching them about God in ways that had amazed and inspired them.
At times the people had come in multitudes and clamored to be as close to Jesus as they could get. Then the mob had come and everyone had deserted him. The gospels record that one disciple, John, was present for his trial and he was join by Jesus’ mother, Mary, at the crucifixion. But the truth is that even their presence didn’t indicate faith and belief in the sacrifice he was making on behalf of sinful man. At that moment their conviction and belief that Jesus was the Messiah had been shattered.
But still Pilate’s written declaration was true. Jesus is the King of the Jews. And his claim to the throne was based on far more than the fact that he was of the tribe of Judah and descended from the royal line.
Long before there was ever a man reigning as king over the descendants of Israel they had recognized that it was God and God alone that ruled over and led his people. In Jesus, God stands clothed in human flesh come to earth that he might make a way to redeem sinful men from the condemnation they’ve earned for themselves.
Our failure to recognize or accept who Jesus is does not change the reality that he is the Son of God, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ, the King of the Jews, and even more.
Pilate, even as he rejects Jesus and gives the order for his execution, is somehow compelled to identify Jesus for who he really is, the King of the Jews. But this is not a statement of faith. It’s an admission that comes in spite of an absence of faith.
Paul, in Philippians chapter two, looks ahead to a day when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But not all make this confession because of faith and belief. The devil, and everyone he’s convinced to side with him, will bow and confess as well and still remain faithless, unbelieving, and unaccepting of Jesus as Lord.
Friends, now is the time to cultivate faith in your heart. Now is the time to receive the Holy Spirit and invite him to plant in you a new heart that truly accepts Jesus for who he is: Creator, Savior, and King.