Was it something that Roman soldiers commonly did?
They drew Jesus body into the holding cell. A blood stained line trailed where his feet dragged. His flesh was raw due to the horrific flogging he had just endured. Sweat covered his body. Tears rolled down his cheeks over the purple imprint that a fist had left.
He was broken.
But the soldiers weren’t done with him.
“This fella claimed to be the King of the Jews! Absurd, isn’t it? A carpenter becomes a king?”
Another soldier turned his attention to Jesus: “Well mister King sir. I didn’t realize we were in the presence of royalty. Allow me to get our things.”
They needed a crown. One fetched a branch of a nearby thornbush. Using his hardened, strong hands he shaped it into a circle. Then, he pressed it firmly onto Jesus’ skull. The thorns acting as some sort of attachment to keep it from falling off. (Jn. 19:2a)
They needed a robe. One went to the nearby room and found a dirty outer cloak lying in the corner. It’s former royal red of the Roman army had faded to purple. Maybe it was the sweat. Maybe it was the dirt. Maybe it was the blood. The soldier came and threw it around Jesus’ shoulders. (Jn. 19:2b)
They needed a rod. One grabbed an old walking stick from a nearby cripple. He laughed. “Here you go your majesty. May this rod serve you well as you dish out justice over the land.” (Mt. 27:29)
Then, two of them lifted him to his feet. The others stood in line to receive him. “Hail, King of the Jews!” they shouted. The first leaned in like he would kiss him. Instead, salive came out.
The rest followed suit. They laughed. They ridiculed. They mocked.
To them, he didn’t look like a king.
I. He Didn’t Look like Any Other King on Earth.
They were right. Jesus did not look like a king.
King come from royal families. Jesus was a carpenter’s son. (Mk 6:3)
Kings come from royal cities. Jesus came from lowly Bethlehem (Lk. 2:4) and grew up in the insignificant city of Nazareth. (Mt. 2:23)
Kings are wealthy. Jesus didn’t even keep the money bag for his rag tag group of followers. (Jn. 13:29)
Kings lived in palaces. Jesus walked around with “no place to lay his head.” (Mt. 8:20)
Kings surround themselves with warriors and nobles. Jesus angered the nobles – and his followers were fishermen (Mt. 4:18), tax collectors (Mt. 9:10), and political activists (Mt. 10:4)!
Besides that his own people didn’t respect him. The Jewish people were the ones who had arrested him. They were the ones who had accused him or crime. They were the ones who wanted to kill him. They were the ones who had rejected him.
He had let them. Usually kings stand up and fight. You are nervous around them. They are warriors.
Jesus? He had gone quietly. He hadn’t spoken at his trial. He quietly took the beating they had just given him.
King of the Jews? Not at all. If he was a king, he was unlike any other king on earth.
They didn’t realize how right they were.
II. He Wasn’t Like Any Other King on Earth.
Countries are different. The rulers of these different countries have different things that they ‘in a sense’ rule over. Things their countries becomes known for. In the Middle East, they control oil. In China, they control the clothing trade.
Jesus controlled things too. Things that were much different than any other king on earth.
· He ruled over the wind and the waves commanding them to stand still at attention—which they did.
· He ruled over the tiniest of germs ordering them to leave—which they did.
· He ruled over palsied limbs and broken legs imposing on them that they return to doing their job—which they did.
· He ruled over death demanding that it release those he had taken captive – a little girl, a young man, a dear friend –which death did…without so much as a defiant look.
Jesus had control unlike any other king on earth.
Earlier on that very day, the governing official of that Roman province had questioned Jesus. He had gotten to the point and asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus response was telling: “You are right in saying I am a king…but my kingdom is not of all this world.” (Jn. 18:36)
Jesus’ kingdom wasn’t a fortified city in the Roman Empire. It wasn’t as far as the eye could see from the palace. It wasn’t a tropical island paradise. It wasn’t a blizzard chilled icy empire.
Jesus ruled in hearts. He shared God’s law to cause people like you and me to cower at our sins. He then shared God’s Gospel to bring you and I to faith in his power to forgive.
It’s why he didn’t care about setting up a palace or gathering a political following. All he cared about what bringing people back to God.
Jesus had a kingdom unlike any other.
1,355, 692, 576 people live in China. 1,236, 334, 662 people lie in India. 318,892, 103 people live in the United States.
That’s a lot of people. The rulers of each of those countries cannot and will not ever possibly know everyone they rule over personally. That’s impossible. They might be able to get a good idea of you when needed to scour through internet collected data via the CIA, but still. They don’t know you.
Jesus has even more subjects than that, yet knows all of them on a personal level.
He knows you on a personal level.
He knows your struggles. He knows your fears. He knows your sin. He knows your guilt. He knows your shame.
In fact, that’s the very reason he was standing, a bloody mess before those Roman soldiers. He knew your sin and he knew how to save you from it. He knew that his death would free you from the rule of sin. He knew that his death would free you from the consequences of having sin as your ruler. He knew that his death – would gain you access into his forever kingdom—a place not of this world—heaven.
Jesus has a personal connection to his subjects unlike any other.
Recently President Obama has issued a few executive orders. These orders change the laws of the land. They are commands that the whole country listen to.
Jesus also has issued executive orders. But they have less to do with illegal immigration and health care. Jesus spoke about your spiritual health. He issued awesome truths about your soul:
"My sacrifice works for the forgiveness of your sins."
"Through faith in me you are forgiven."
"Whoever believes in me will not perish, but have eternal life."
The soldiers were right. They had a king standing before them. But if they didn’t know it then, one day they will realize it. Philippians 2 tells us, “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
It is my prayer that you do not join these soldiers in rejecting Jesus. It is my prayer that you see him for who he truly is, a king unlike any other. The king of the Universe. Your king. Amen.