christ the king
the PRAYER. . .
Almighty and ever-living God, you anointed your beloved Son to be priest and sovereign forever. Grant that all the people of the earth, now divided by the power of sin, may be united by the glorious and gentle rule of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
the DEVOTION. . .
We always read the passage as if they were two friends sitting together at Starbucks. Chitchat. Small talk. Gossip. The weather. But from everything we know, Pilate wasn’t like that. He was brutal. Ruthless. All about power. Raw. Unconstrained. He had a job to do and no one would get in the way. Not even Jesus. No, before he entered the headquarters, that morning, Pilate already knew what he was going to do. One more “king” – and there were plenty, back then – was a luxury Rome couldn’t afford. A luxury Rome WOULDN’T afford.
His purpose, therefore, was to humiliate Jesus. In front of all his would-be subjects. Shame him. Mock him. Ridicule him. He dressed him in purple. Crowned him with thorns. And then, he had his soldiers – Pilate’s own soldiers, the very ones who would nail Jesus to a tree – fall down on their knees. And as one last irony, he would have Jesus’ own neighbors and friends cry out for his hanging. “Are you the king?” It wasn’t a question fueled by curiosity, but rather by anger, by rage. Right from the start, the plan was to disgrace the “king.” Funny thing, though. . . how is it, exactly, that you dis-grace grace?
Bob Barndt, pastor