19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
….13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!”
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. -John 19:1-5, 13-16
The world’s leaders, whether kings, queens, premiers, Ayatollahs, dictators, tyrants, presidents, or emperors, all live opulent, luxurious, sheltered, protected lives. They live in palaces, castles, and grand estates. They are led and followed through the city by an entourage of special police or military detachments They wear distinctive traditional robes or finely tailored suits They eat the finest of the world’s cuisines. They are insulated from, and often aloof to, the miseries and needs of the common and poor people. Yet their office and their luxuriant lifestyles are supported by the taxes and revenues forced from the people. Seldom does it seem that national leaders see themselves as holding office in order to serve the people. Rather, they seem quite satisfied to enjoy the luxuries of their office, supported and funded by the people
What a different kind of King Jesus came to be. He truly came to serve the people. He was born in a stable, not in a palace. He was laid in a manger, not in a golden crib. His first visitors were poor shepherds, not the royal family. He was raised not in the capital city, but in an obscure village called Nazareth. He grew up in humble circumstances, supported by Mary and her husband Joseph, a carpenter.
When Jesus matured to manhood, he did not don fancy robes or other conspicuous attire. He wore the ordinary, traditional garments of his people. He did not attend private schools or universities. He was home taught by his mother and Joseph He sat in the temple and humbly learned from the rabbis.
Jesus had no grand coronation ceremony with feasting and celebrating. Rather he was baptized by John and anointed with the Holy Spirit. He entered his public life as an itinerant preacher, teacher, and miracle worker. He owned no home but relied on the hospitality of his followers. He charged nothing for his services. He gathered as his helpers common, working men, some fisherman, another a tax collector.
Yet all the while Jesus remained the rightful ruler of the universe. He was God in human form. He had come to live among sinners, to take on their sin, and to take it all to the cross where he crucified it. He was worthy of all honor, praise, and glory, even though he received much anger, hatred, scorn, and shame.
After three years of public life as the Prince of Peace, King of the nations, Jesus was arrested under a torrent of false accusations. In his trial, the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate recognized his claim as King:
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” -John 18:26-37
Jesus, King of the Nations, Price of Peace, Son of the Living God took nothing from the people. He fed them, healed their diseases, raised their dead, and taught them the way to heaven. He gave up everything for the people, even shedding his last drop of blood on the cross. For this reason God the Father has “given him a name above every name that can be named in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11.
If only the world’s leaders would copy Christ, follow Christ, lead as he led, lead with his sacrificial and empathetic spirit. Imagine what a different world we would have.
We might have such leaders if we ourselves were better examples. If we taught and led our children, the future leaders of our cities, states, and nation, after the example of Christ. If we lived humbly and thankfully within our means. If we gave from our riches to the poor and suffering of the world. If we bore the thorny crown of ridicule with dignity. If when we were scornfully slapped, we turned the other cheek. When falsely accused, we did not answer back with wrath. When asked what I want in life, to answer that I want to teach like Christ, give like Christ, help like Christ, and if necessary suffer like Christ. Imagine how the world would change.