Summary: PENTECOST 27,YEAR B - The King of kings, the Lord of lords
Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or Did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to him, “So you are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is the truth?”
Do you remember the show “name that tune?” Contestants listened to short renditions of musical selections and then were asked to “Name that tune.” How well do you think you would do if you went on that show? Well here is your opportunity, I am going to play a short musical selection and I want you to identify it. (Play “Hail to the Chief”) Do you recognize it? That’s right, it’s “Hail to the Chief.” This song was published in the US in about 1812. It was first played to announce the arrival of the president on March 4, 1837 when it accompanied Martin Van Buren’s inauguration. This musical piece serves to create a sense of Pomp and Circumstance It helps our elected representative look “Presidential.” Now can anyone tell me the words to this song?
“Hail to the chief we have chosen for the nation. Hail to the chief we salute him, one and all. Hail to the chief as we pledge cooperation. In proud fulfillment of a great noble call. Yours is the aim to make this grand country grander. This you will do that’s our strong, firm belief. Hail to the one we selected as commander. Hail to the president. Hail to the chief.”
As I have observed the on-going debate over the Florida vote count. As I’ve observed each side slugging it out in court. Listened to each camp’s representatives spin-doctor the results. As the days have turned into weeks, and the weeks creep towards months. I’ve wondered if in the end. We will finally learn who won the office for the next four years, but will have to wait for a lot longer for someone who will appear presidential. I can’t help but think would it be better to just go back to having a king. A king, after all, is trained from birth on how to wave, and how to speak, and how to govern. Now just think about it for a moment. There would be no more of this on the job training stuff. No more of this campaigning for the office. No more of these political parties. Just the royal family. And when the king (or queen) dies, we just follow the next family member in line. No more choosing by hanging chads. Our next leader would be chosen by their blood. Well, how about it? What do you say? Shall we forget this democracy mess and go back to following a King? But then our passage for today reminded me. As Christians we already have a king
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.”
Get Ready. You and I are about to look at one of the great mysteries of the New Testament. In this passage Jesus refers to his Kingdom. But no-where in all of the biblical record can we ever find Jesus stating “I am a king.” Other people will make this claim of Him. John in Revelations will even go so far as to call Him the “King of kings,” and the “Lord of lords.” But Jesus never makes this claim of Himself. Yet when he makes mention of His kingdom Pilate says to him, “So you are a King?” Jesus answers, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.” So Jesus has come to bear witness to the truth, yet will not declare for himself that he is king. Then what is the truth that Jesus has come from heaven above to bear witness to, if it is not the truth that he is king?
To comprehend what is going on here we need to first understand Israel’s experience with kings. The Jewish people have a long history of being a conquered people. Starting with slavery under the Egyptians, then the conquest of northern Judea by the Assyrians. The defeat of Southern Israel by Bablylon. Next came the Greeks under Alexander the Great. And now servitude under the Roman Emperor. And even now in the days of Jesus the man who holds the office of the Jewish King, Herod is only a figurehead, appointed by Rome. It is Caesar who calls all the shots. Into this political mess walks Jesus, the King of all Kings, the Lord over all other lords. Yet in coming to His people, Jesus makes no demands for allegiance. There is no conquest. There is no force by arms. Jesus simply asks, in Matthew 16