November 21, 2019

A Written Charge Against Christ: “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS”

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We, God’s people who dwell in the truth, are all aware that Jesus was sacrificed on the cross as a ransom for the forgiveness of sins that we had committed in heaven.

Then, what kind of sins did we commit in the kingdom of heaven? Let’s find out what our sins were, which caused us to be expelled from heaven, through Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.

When Jesus was hung on the cross, a written charge was placed above his head, which read: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

“Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Mt 27:37

When Jesus was born, the region of Judea was under the control of King Herod, appointed by the Roman Empire. However, when Jesus was preaching the gospel, Judea was ruled by a governor who was dispatched from Rome. So, there was no king but Caesar, the Roman Emperor. If anyone else claimed to be king, it meant that he had committed treason against the Roman Empire.

Actually, when the high priests and elders tried to accuse Jesus, they were well aware that they couldn’t accuse Him for religious reasons. So to make Jesus guilty of treason, they watched for a chance to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse Him, saying, “He is stirring up riots among the Jews, claiming to be the king of the Jews.” That was why they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, when they tried to test Jesus.

“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. . . . “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar (the Roman Emperor) or not?”” Mt 22:15-17

The Jews said this because they had the following intention: If Jesus told them to pay taxes to the Roman emperor, they would blame Him for being an agent of the Roman Empire, and if He told them not to pay taxes to the Roman emperor, they would accuse Him of being a traitor against Rome by having the Herodians bear witness against Him. However, Jesus knew their evil intent and said as follows:

“But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.” Mt 22:18-22

Pilate, a Roman governor, also asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews, when He was brought before him.

“Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”” Jn 18:33

After questioning Jesus, Pilate couldn’t find any basis for a charge against Him. However, he had to think about political risk that he would suffer if he didn’t punish Jesus.

“From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” 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).” Jn 19:12-13

Pilate was aware that if he did not punish Jesus, the Jews would surely spread this wild rumor: ‘The governor is sheltering a traitor.’ Since he knew that his political life might be in danger if that rumor spread throughout the Roman Empire, he decided to follow the demand of the Jews.

In the end, Jesus was sentenced to death after being falsely accused of treason against Rome by the Jews. So, they placed over His head a written statement of the charge against Him: “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” It was not because our Christ didn’t have power that He was executed by the Roman soldiers. He endured all the sufferings in order to fulfill every prophecy concerning Himself in the Bible.

“Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Mt 26:53-54

Jesus died by crucifixion, which was the Romans’ most severe form of execution. He was sentenced to be crucified for our sins, being accused of treason. This shows us what kind of sins we committed in heaven before we were cast down to this earth.

As we came down to this earth after committing treason in heaven, Jesus was also executed on a charge of treason and saved us, the unrighteous. That is why our sins are described as “sins deserving of death.” Since God has forgiven our sins that deserve death, how thankful should we be to God?

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa 53:4-6

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