In the previous post we glanced at a scene from the life of Jesus now I want to fast forward to the time of His last few days earth.
Cross to Crown
On the Sunday before His crucifixion, Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem. His actions echo the words of Isaiah 62:11 and fulfilled the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9. Jesus did not arrive decorated in physical majesty, He did not arrive on a chariot or a warhorse rather He came humbly on a young donkey into the city. In the middle eastern world this was understood as a symbol of coming in peace.
The people spread their cloaks on the road before Him in submission. They waved Him in with palm branches. They shouted Hosanna in adoration to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:9)
These words from Matthew 21 paint a beautiful picture of His arrival. The unfortunate reality, however, is that a few days later some of these same people would no longer be shouting out Hosanna but instead crucify Him. The religious and political leaders would put Jesus through a multitude of trials, and the people would choose to free a murderer over the only sinless man that ever lived, Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures recount the painful moments of His last hours. Matthew 27:27-31 says, “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.” “Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”(Matthew 27:35-36)
I want you to try to imagine the weight of the mockery in His final hours. Jesus was betrayed, He was put through trial after trial, and just prior to this Scripture He had been scourged. He had endured a brutal Roman punishment that consisted of a severe beating with a multilayered whip embedded with pieces of bone and metal (Mark 15:15). The soldiers here are amused at Jesus’ alleged kingship. The Scriptures say they gathered the whole battalion together before him. We don’t know exactly how many are in a battalion but historically it is said to contain between 300 to over 1,000 men.
Can you imagine that? All He has endured and now the whole Roman guard is gathered to ridicule and beat Him. They dressed Him in fake royal garments. They taunt and abuse Him with a crown of thorns and a reed as scepter. As if the gruesome torture of the cross were not enough they continued to mock him by listing His crime above His head. They put a charge above Him on the cross that reads “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
John 19:20 tells us that the inscription was written in three different languages, they wanted everyone to know what His charge was. I cannot stop thinking of the irony of this moment. How interesting it is that the soldiers crowned, robed, and charged Jesus as king. They did it in an evil earthly way not realizing that even they were confirming His deity (even if they didn’t understand or accept it). From this side of the cross we see that the sign above His head actually proclaimed the truth. Jesus was secure in His calling, He knew this world was not His home, and even though the world tried to make a fool of Him Jesus pressed on for the joy that was before Him (Hebrews 12:2). As believers we have to remember that the enemy of our soul wants to distract us from God’s call on our life. Know that those outside of the kingdom of God will always try to pervert, distort, and insult the King’s calling for your life.
What are you wearing spiritually?
Has the world placed something on your head that drags you down?
Do you desire to do the will of God, but feel battered and bruised by the world?
Maybe you feel like you’ve already done enough.
Have you allowed circumstances to make you believe you are unable, or unworthy for His call on your life?
Do you continually crown yourself with guilt, despair, or anxiety?
When we take on a worldly crown it is always going to be heavy. When we place ourselves in the center of the kingdom of earth we are going to be weighed down by the world. But when we live as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven there is freedom because Jesus has already barred our greatest burden when He died for our sin on the cross!
When we live like citizens of Heaven, we hold on to Scriptures like Hebrews 10:35 which says, “…Do not cast away your confidence, which has a great reward.” And what is our confidence in this world? Our confidence is Christ! Know that even if you feel like you have cast your confidence away it is not cast out to sea and lost forever, you can reel it back in because your King does not let go of you even if you have let go of Him.
Hebrews 2:6-8 referencing Psalms 8:5 says “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
I want you to know that mankind may have gave Jesus a crown of thorns but the God of all creation turned it into a crown of Glory!
The final hours of Jesus’ life were the darkest hours of history but at the same time those very hours ushered in the greatest light!
The cross was an instrument of death but it was also an instrument of Salvation for all who believe!
Remember Jesus’ death and know that circumstance isn’t always as it seems and it isn’t always how humanity defines it either.
Right after Jesus died a centurion, who was standing there watching Jesus take His last breath, said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39) Even when the world tries to distort the truth Jesus’ witness always prevails!
Those outside of the Kingdom of God will always try to pervert, distort, and insult the Kings calling for your life but that should not stall us or stop us from pursing and prevailing in His call!
Stay tuned for part 3!