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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Pilate asked Him, saying, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ He answered him and said, ‘It is as you say.’”—Luke 23:3 (NKJV)
As Rome’s appointed peacekeeper over ancient Palestine (modern-day Israel), a few things triggered a red-flag for Pilate. One was any claim of sovereignty within his jurisdiction. If someone under his watch challenged Roman rule, which happened often, it had to be dealt with. Otherwise, it could quickly become the thin edge of the wedge that would widen and split the system of order holding things in place. So Pilate had a zero-tolerance policy if someone claimed to be king!
Enter the Jewish leaders, who brought Jesus before Pilate to be executed. The specific charge was that He claimed to be “King of the Jews.” This was something Pilate couldn’t ignore. He had to look into this charge to see if this claim was a credible threat to the power and authority of Rome. So, he asks Jesus point-blank, “Are You the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33 NKJV).
Any person interested in self-preservation would have used this opportunity to deny such a claim; again, zero tolerance, which makes Jesus’ affirmation of His identity as the “King of the Jews” in Luke’s version of the exchange in the passage above all the more amazing. This put Pilate into the predicament of his life! The immovable object of Roman policy encountered the irresistible force of Christ’s identity!
But let’s press pause on the story at this stage and put ourselves into Pilate’s position, because we are already there to some extent. Like Pilate, we have a sense of authority that we feel the need to maintain. We see our lives as lands or islands where we reign supreme. Our will is law, and anything to contest that isn’t welcome and won’t be tolerated. That’s our natural bend as self-centered human beings.
Then a King steps into our lives. He tells us that His sovereignty supersedes our own, that He has His own zero-tolerance policy that we must surrender our will to, and that we must receive His Lordship completely. It’s all or nothing with Him. But the great difference at this point is His Kingship over us is infinitely better than any form of self-rule we could ever be capable of!
As Pilate discovered, Christ threatens our sense of sovereignty. He will never back down or deny His authority over our lives. So we are always wisest when we submit to Him . . . the King of all kings!
DIG: How are we like Pilate?
DISCOVER: What did Pilate discover? How does this affect your life?
DISPLAY: Today, reaffirm your surrender and devotion to the sovereignty of the King. In your time of prayer, praise His majesty and Lordship, recommit yourself to Christ and His will.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.