Crucifixion of the King

scene of the passion, made by pages of a book

The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get. It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: The King of the Jews. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

I was just looking at the part where everybody was mocking Jesus (:29-32) and noticed a connection to the Old Testament. I mean, yeah, everything about Jesus is a fulfillment of the Old Testament, but this part where everybody in Israel rejected Jesus as their king reminds me of 1 Samuel 8 where, though Israel had pretty much always rejected God as their God, if not only with their lips but also with their hearts, here the leaders and the elders straight-out, bluntly rejected God as their king and asked for one like those of other nations.

And in the same way, here in Mark 15:16-32, the Jewish leaders again rejected Him as their King. Other Gospels even mention that they had petitioned for the noted charges against Jesus not claim “King of the Jews”. So Theologically-speaking, the same way that Israel rejected Samuel as their leader, and the Lord as their King, so they did again here in Mark with Jesus…and so many (Jews and non-Jews) continue to do even today.

I think there’s also something Theologically significant of the fact that in verse 39, after everybody continued to mock Jesus, even until His death, that the first person to recognize and acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son was a Roman Centurion…a Gentile.

  • So Israel rejected God as their king
  • Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as their promised Messiah
  • Gentile soldier recognizes and acknowledges that which God’s own people continued to reject.

There is significant to this, for not long after the beginning of the Church did converted Jews take the Gospel to Gentile lands. And go figure, it was the Gentiles who openly accepted not only Jesus as the Messiah, but also Jesus as their King and Lord.

While God’s own people thought they knew God, thought they were wise and set in their religion, and while they continuously rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the Gentiles were openly and gladly accepting the Gospel, Christ as Lord and Savior, and throwing away the religions to which they held so strongly.

Granted, not all the Jews rejected Jesus’ Lordship, and in fact, many did accept Him, hence the Jerusalem Church. But it was the Gentiles who were accepting Jesus like a raging wildfire (so much to where today it’s recognized by many as a Gentile faith).

The Bible talks of this, too. Even all the way to Revelation, where it says that a huge number of Jews will finally accept Jesus as their Messiah…the complete number. Paul also said that Jesus opened up the door for Gentiles in order to cause jealousy among His people, the Jews. So there’s the understanding that they will one day finally kneel before Christ Jesus, but until then, the Gentiles will continue to accept Him. In other words, the Gentile Centurion’s comment was in fact very prophetic in nature.

Reflection:

  1. Which are you more like, the doubting Jewish Leaders, or the Centurion who recognized and acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah? How/Why?
  2. What does it mean (or require) to call Jesus “King”?
  3. Who’s your King? What does that mean?

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