Read Matthew 27:27-31

Jesus’ fate was already sealed. The crowd had rejected him and chosen a criminal. Pilate had made his decision to prevent a riot. But now, condemned as a criminal, Jesus was brought before a mob of soldiers. It was not enough to be wrongly convicted: He would be humiliated.

The soldiers stripped him of His clothes and put a scarlet robe on Him. They twisted thorns into the shape of a crown and put it on His head. They put a reed in His right hand.

They knelt before Him in false homage; they called out His claimed title in pretended submission. “This,” they scoffed, “is the King of the Jews.” And this is our contempt for Him, His people and His pretensions. 

They spat on Him, they struck Him, and finally, they put Him back in His clothes and led Him to be crucified.

They denied His claims but we, the readers, are struck by the irony. For He was indeed the King of the Jews. He of all men could rightfully wear the robes of royal power. Diadems, not thorns, would rightfully grace His head. He alone was truly worthy of allegiance and worship.

Jesus’ claims are still controversial. To those who believe, He is their Saviour and Lord. To some, He is a threat because He is the King who claims ultimate allegiance.

Recently a Chinese government official told a church to remove the first commandment. They were told to replace the command to have no other gods besides God with quotes from President Xi Jinping. The official understood correctly that there can be only one who takes ultimate allegiance. For the Christian, in China as elsewhere, to confess Jesus as Lord means to confess Him as worthy of final allegiance. 

We seek to see Jesus take His rightful place among all peoples and nations as the one worthy of ultimate allegiance. We work with our partners to call all peoples to truly worship the Crucified One who is in reality King. Though once humiliated He was honoured by the Father taking the pre-eminent position at the right hand of power. From there He will come again to judge. But until then, He calls all people everywhere to give Him the rightful place in our lives as King of kings.

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