I can still picture it: my seven-year-old self perched on top of a stump in the yard calling out to the neighbourhood kids, “I’m the king of the castle, and you’re the dirty rascal!” Most of you probably read that with the same sing-song like jingle that’s running through my head, and it will likely be there for days to come – you’re welcome!
The whole point of this game was to be the king: the one with the power; high and mighty; the be-all, end-all; the best. And still today, for many, this is the image of king that comes to mind. But Jesus came to show us a different kind of King. One who held all power, yes; but One who also held pure grace, abundant mercy, perfect justice, and unending love.
Yet, strangely, the people didn’t want this King. They didn’t believe He was who He said, and they voiced their thoughts, loud and clear. But it was their actions that, in the end, spoke far louder than words.
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 knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews,” they said. (Matthew 27:28-29)
Their thoughts were clear: ‘This Jewish nobody thinks He’s king? He thinks He’s the Son of God? Where’s His power? Where’s His glory?’ And so, they set out to show Him where the true power really lay. They thought they were in control; that they had the power. They thought this was playing out according to their plan. But they would soon see this was not the case.
The LORD Almighty has sworn,
“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.”
What the Roman soldiers and officials didn’t understand; what the Jewish authorities failed to see was this One they mocked as king really was King. This One who appeared weak and powerless held all control in His hands. And this One they believed couldn’t save Himself, didn’t, so that He could save them.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised and we did not care. Yet it was our weakness he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
Isaiah 53:3b-6 NLT
This was God’s plan from the start. He, our Sovereign King, showed His people His power to save. He spared them from certain and impending death. This is the reason Christ stayed on the cross. It’s why He didn’t save Himself. For only in death could He cover our sin. Only His blood could make us whole. And only by His wounds could we be healed. This is power. This is Kingship. And this is One who loves to the end.
I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:16 NLT