Jesus is our King

“We have no king but Caesar.”  This was the reply when Pilate asked the Jews whether they wanted him to crucify their king (Jesus).

An acceptable declaration if you are a Roman citizen. But this proclamation was made by the chief priests of Israel, a nation who believed in one god, a nation whose morning and evening prayers, called the Shema, opened with the words “hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and then continued with the rest of the prayers. From Moses’s time and the giving of the law, observant Jewish parents have taught their children the words of the Shema as soon as they could speak. Jesus would have learnt it from Joseph as a youngster. These same lines have been, and still are, central to Jewish prayer life. When a Jewish person is dying, these words are uttered by them. This statement is a basic tenant of Jewish belief and is foundational to everything that they do.

The Roman Caesars were regarded as deity, and coins depicted their image. For a Jew, whether priest or not, to confess allegiance to a Caesar, another god, would have meant death by stoning.

Of course, the argument could be made that the chief priests made the statement out of a convenient necessity to get rid of this troublesome man from Nazareth and that they still believed in one God. The reply that they gave to Pilate reveals a pattern of convenience,  twisting and manipulating the Law and exposing what was in their hearts. “We must deal with this man otherwise, the Romans will come and take away our position.”

The Shema continues, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5). They, the chief priests, had shifted their allegiance because their love was directed to themselves and their status.

When we are ‘born from above’, we shift our allegiance from ourselves to the One Who created the universe… “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John1:1-3, 14).

We make choices that fall in line with the pattern set up by the love for God that is in our heart. When situations and choices confront us, we follow the path set up by our Leader, and our reply is….


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