Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
Your Real King
Children raised on fast food sit in front of a home-cooked meal. They stare at the chicken breast and baked potato and ask: “What is it?” The only potatoes they’ve known are cut and deep-fried. And, as far as they know, chicken only comes in the form of patties, nuggets and fingers.
Sometimes we get such a strong and wrong picture of what something should be that we don’t even recognize the REAL THING when it’s sitting right in front of our face.
What does a king look like? The people of Jesus’ day “knew” that a king looked like the rulers of their day. They figured a king must always appear rich, powerful and honored. When they saw Jesus, they did not see a wealthy or powerful or respected man. They reacted wrongly and sinfully heaped abuse on Jesus with their cruel words and angry fists.
We dishonor Jesus, our King, too, but with quite different tactics. We call Jesus our King (you may be singing that in a Christmas song or two soon.) But how often have we let our lives or circumstances mock the rich grace and unlimited power of our King? When it comes to following our King, do we choose our whims and worries instead of our King’s commands and promises? We choose lust instead of purity; cursing instead of prayer and blessing; coveting instead of contentment. We choose worry instead of trust; fear instead of faith; hate instead of love.
Thank God that Jesus chose to be our King by his love and work on our behalf. In today’s section from God’s Word, Matthew tells us that Jesus did what only our REAL King could do. He allowed himself to be dishonored because our sin dishonored God. Jesus allowed himself to be mocked, beaten, and doomed to death because that’s what we deserved. Only our real King could step in and do this perfectly in our place. Only his death could lift the death penalty that hung over our heads. This is what our REAL King looks like.
You know your real King. Don’t let any imposters sit on the throne of your heart. No matter the temptations, the hardships, the uncertainties, and the suffering you face, they are not your king. They are imposters. You have a king–the Real King–Jesus!
When temptations and suffering flood into your life, Jesus may seem distant, weak, or uncaring. But remember, you’ve seen this before. When Jesus stood on trial, he did not look like the REAL King. Even as Jesus suffered and died, he was our all-powerful, gracious God. Jesus’ death and resurrection give us forgiveness, eternal life and peace. Your King promises you power for living for him, and his constant care and presence in your life now. Only your Real King could give such great gifts. When you see Jesus, you see your REAL KING.
Jesus, you are my King. In love for me, you did what no king should have to do–you suffered and died for a rebellious servant like me. Thank you for your forgiveness and care. Fill me with your love and faithfulness so that I always serve and honor you. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.