HOUSMAIL Number HM#017 - THE CORONATION OF JESUS 16 January 1999
Of course we must never forget that God's intention to establish an everlasting Kingdom on earth is an indispensable element of the Gospel. It is the prime plan and purpose of creation. It is the goal towards which God is working. We MUST preach it.
However there are also present aspects of the Kingdom of God which are very important to us. The four Gospels all describe a "CORONATION CEREMONY" for the King, which has ALREADY taken place! Understanding what that means for us, and learning to live that way NOW, is an essential part of our own preparation to inherit a place amongst the Kings and Priests of that future Kingdom.
THE KING ARRIVES IN TOWN
When Jesus rode into town on that borrowed donkey, He made a public declaration of His claim to the throne. (Matt 21:4, Zech 9:9) And the crowds accepted the claim and welcomed Him. "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." (Matt 21:9, Psalm 118:26)
But they did not understand. They thought the future Kingdom was to appear immediately. (Luke 19:11) They did not understand that THEY were not ready for it. They did not understand how the crown was to be received. They did not understand that there was to be a such a long time between the "coronation" of the King, and the RESTORATION of the Kingdom (Acts 1:6)
And only a few days later, it was that same lack of understanding which led their chief priests to say "We have no king but Caesar". (John 19:15)
THE KING WHO IS A SLAVE
Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your SLAVE; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matt 20:25-28)
In the world around us, the subjects die to protect the life of their King. But in the Kingdom of God, it is completely opposite. The King dies to save the people! We have not learnt the REAL meaning of AUTHORITY and POWER, until we join with Jesus in willingness to carry our own cross. Without that, we cannot be disciples. (Luke 9:23, 14:26,33) And without that we will not know how to rule.
THE DECLARATION TO THE HIGH PRIEST
Jesus did not answer at all, to any of the FALSE accusations against him. "Like a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)
But there was one charge which was not false. When accused of claiming to be the Son of God, Jesus "confessed". And in the presence of the assembled Jewish rulers, He also openly claimed the right to the throne!
"The high priest ..... said to him, I adjure thee by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ (MESSIAH) the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said so." [This is the Hebrew way of saying "It is as you say"] (Matt 26:63-64)
For THAT TRUTH Jesus was condemned. They bound Him and took Him away to Pilate for sentencing.
WHO WAS REALLY ON TRIAL?
Jesus refused to defend Himself. He was not there for Himself. In Him there was no cause of death; nothing worthy of the terrible penalty imposed on Him. Instead , He was there for us, to bear the penalty of OUR SIN!
And for us, there is NO POSSIBLE DEFENCE; no "plea bargaining" for a lesser charge, or a lighter sentence; no face saving excuses to offer; no clever words to reduce our responsibility; no last minute rescue. He had to bear ALL that OUR SINS deserved, so that no one could ever say that the ransom was not paid in full.
To do THAT Jesus committed His own cause to God.
God confirmed OUR guilt and its awful cost, by allowing Jesus to die.
And God declared Jesus personally innocent, by raising Him from the dead.
THE CORONATION CEREMONY
"Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a SCARLET ROBE (scarlet was the color of royal robes) upon him, and plaiting a CROWN of thorns they put it on his head, and put a REED (a makeshift sceptre) in his right hand. And KNEELING before him they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (Matt 27:27-29)
When Pilate said "Behold your king" it was a challenge to the Jews. It was a demand for rejection of Jesus, and submission to Caesar. It was designed to put down any potential uprising against Rome. But for those who understand, Pilate actually spoke the truth. It was Jesus who demonstrated true ROYALTY on that day. Jesus IS our King .... not Caesar!
And although neither Pilate nor the Roman soldiers, understood the real meaning of what they said, Roman "authority" had "crowned" Jesus as King!
"They crucified Him". They nailed Him to His "throne".
In ordinary human terms that is "weakness". But in God's terms it is REAL POWER. From the cross, Jesus declares His LOVE. And if we respond as we should, that LOVE is stronger than any "rod of iron", to compel our submission to His rule over us. "If you love me you WILL keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
THE PUBLIC NOTICES
"Pilate .... wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek." (John 19:19
These were the THREE major languages of the time. To anyone who passed by, Jew, or Roman, or other foreigner, Pilate's declaration was there for all to read. And for whatever motive, Pilate refused to change it. "What I have written I have written." (V22)
THE VICTORY PROCESSION
"They spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him." (Matt 27:30-31)
After winning a war, it was customary for victorious kings to lead a "victory procession". The spoils of war, and those who had been taken captive to serve the victor, were led in a grand procession through the streets of the city. The superior "power" and "triumph" of the great leader, were on display. Honor was given to favoured generals, who had assisted in the victory. And the king awarded them gifts from the spoils. It was all one great big ego trip!
When Jesus said "I have overcome THE WORLD" (John 16:33) He spoke of a different kind of victory. And He was about to lead His own "Victory Parade". But this one was no "ego trip"! He made Himself of no reputation. (Phil 2:7)
Pilate thought that Rome was victor over potential Jewish rebellion! The Jewish chief priests and rulers had preserved their "authority". The Roman soldiers, and the crowds that followed through the streets of Jerusalem, all thought that Jesus was THEIR prisoner!
Nothing was further from the truth! Jesus was there only because He chose to be! He had decided that in Gethsemane. The Twelve legions of angels at His disposal were never called. And though they knew it not, all who followed Jesus that day, were captive to the predetermined will of God, to which Jesus was submitting.
"He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him." (Col 2:15)
"When he ascended on high (THE CROSS?) he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (Eph 4:8)
These "gifts" will make us both RICH and POWERFUL! But only if we understand what TRUE riches and REAL Kingdom power are. (Luke 16:11) Properly understood and used, these gifts enrich and empower the "slaves" of Jesus with all that is needed to build up the body of Christ (the subjects of the Kingdom) until it grows to its final "perfection". (Eph 4:11-16)
THE FUTURE KINGDOM
Will there be another "coronation ceremony" when Jesus returns? Will there be another "victory procession"? Will it include all the outward pomp and show that Jesus turned His back on 2000 years ago?
Somehow I doubt that! It seems to run counter to all that the current crop of future Kings and Priests are learning to be!
Whatever that future Kingdom will be, it will certainly NOT be modelled on Great Babylon, or the Roman Empire, or the British Empire, or the United States of America!
In a Kingdom where the laws are written in the hearts and minds of all, and where all spears have been beaten into pruning hooks, there will be no need for a "peacetime ARMY"! (Who ever heard of an army trying to fight with pruning hooks and plowshares?)
If we would REIGN with Jesus in the FUTURE, we must first become qualified by learning the source of the REAL KINGDOM POWER exercised by Jesus. We must be willing to win the throne through accepting the same rejection. We must be willing to accept the same "CROWN". We must learn how to sit on the same "THRONE". We must learn how to walk with Jesus at the head of the same "VICTORY PROCESSION". We must learn how to CONQUER the world by dying to ourselves.
We must learn how to live and teach the Kingdom WAY OF LIFE now. If we don't learn how to do that for ourselves now, how will we ever be able to teach it in any future kingdom? If we don't love the Kingdom Way now, how will we ever enjoy life in any future Kingdom where the already existing commandments of Jesus are THE LAWS by which all must live?
That is what it means to be delivered from the dominion of darkness, and transferred into the into the Kingdom of Jesus NOW! (Col 1:12-13)
And TO THAT WE ARE CALLED! (1 Peter 2:20-25)