Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 22 March 2016

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews. Mark 15, verses 25-26.

“We hold these truths to be self evident:”   Thomas Jefferson wrote that in the Declaration of Independence. It seems almost crazy to us that the document which founded our nation should contain these words.   It’s like they’re a big ‘duh’ to the world.   Of course freedom is self-evident.   It simply is; everyone knows that…

…except that, in 1776, everyone didn’t.   In fact, Mr. Jefferson’s statement was revolutionary beyond simply fomenting a war.   Neither common people nor government officials looked at the rights of man as self-evident.   They were things that were given by those above to those below.   Specifically, rights and freedoms were what the government or the powerful told you they were.   You didn’t have the right to free speech, or to attend the church of your choosing, or to criticize politicians, be secure in your home and possessions, to assemble peacefully, or any of the other freedoms later protected (from our government) by our Constitution.   The only thing that was self-evident was that the common man or woman was, as we would consider it today, uncommonly oppressed.

It was nothing new.   Jesus was the King of the Jews, both literally (being descended from King David, himself anointed by God) and figuratively (as God and spiritual King).   This was the title with which the Jewish chief priests had mockingly labeled Jesus.   When Pilate questioned Jesus, he asked the Lord “are you the king of the Jews” to which Jesus replied “it is right that you say I am” in a bit of masterful instruction. Pilate, too, seemed to mock Jesus with this title, yet because Pilate was a non-believing Roman, perhaps it really is so that Pilate was as much asking as he was mocking.   This side of heaven, we won’t truly know.

Yet the advertisement which Pilate had nailed to Jesus’ cross was still self-evident.   It simply was a statement of fact.   That was, in fact, what happened.   Pilate had the sign made, then nailed to the cross over Jesus’ head.   It was written in several languages, so that those who witnessed the execution would know both what the Romans thought of Jesus and the Jews, and (unwittingly) that they were executing the one true King. The sign said what it said and meant it.

It means the same thing still. Deist or not, Thomas Jefferson might just agree.

Lord Jesus, You are the one true and only King.   You are the King of the Jews.   You are the King of Eternity.   You are my King.

Read Mark 15, verses 16-47.


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