Mark 15:2 "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
This week, millions of people around the world joined in celebrations that marked the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1952, she ascended to the British throne as a young woman after her father died from cancer. She has endeared herself to many people and commonwealth nations around the globe. She has successfully served as sovereign and when she passes, we will never see the likes of her again.
Queen Elizabeth is the monarch of Great Britain, but not Scotland. Her title in Scotland is ‘Queen of Scots’ which means that she reigns over the people, but not the land. This is a great freedom that Scots have jealously guarded and dearly possessed for centuries. There is a common belief that the land belongs to everyone, which is why it is difficult to prosecute anyone for trespass in Scotland. The ‘Freedom to Roam’ anywhere in the nation is often upheld under Scottish law, so long as no actual damage is made to the landowner’s property.
I find it intriguing that Pilate did not ask Jesus if He was the King of Judah, the Prince of Palestine, or the Emperor of Israel. He asked him precisely if Christ was the King of the Jews – not a land, but a people. Pilate must have seen something in Jesus that moved him to ask this question. When Jesus answered affirmatively, it astounded the Roman Governor. It also stayed with him because Pilate ordered a sign to be hung above Jesus on the Cross that read “King of the Jews.” Whether or not he did this to mock the Jewish people or to display what he believed to be the truth, we cannot say.
In the Old Testament, we can read on many occasions God saying to the Hebrews, “You are my people and I will be Your God.” When Christ positively answered Pilate’s question, He was following a long tradition and fulfilling many prophecies. Even today, Jesus is Sovereign of all His people – so that the terms ‘Christian nation,’ ‘Christian government,’ or ‘Christian society’ are actually redundant in Christ’s eyes. His people are His Church, not bound by national borders or political views. His people are His servants, not tied to geographical limits or even temporal ones. Christ is the King of Kings, the Lord of Life, and the Head of the Church which is made up of His people.
Question for personal reflection
How do I understand and serve Christ as my King?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your Kingdom is about people, not property. Your ministry is about nurturing, not nation building. Your mission is about salvation, not society. Help us to understand these important differences so that we may truly serve You as Your people and celebrate You as our Sovereign. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s drawing is John’s latest seascape called “Moonlight Bay.” It features a collection of yachts at midnight under the light of a silvery moon. If you would like to view a larger version, please click here: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7238/7350398012_9f29505928_b.jpg