No King But Caesar

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Photo Credit: Joe Geranio via Compfight cc

The tension in the air was so thick you could almost cut it with a knife.  Even though there was a chill in the air, Pilate was sweating.  He would be very glad when he could get this over with and wash his hands of this accursed mess.

The young man who stood near Pilate, with his flesh in ribbons and a crown of thorns pressing into his head, had been brought  by the Chief Priests of the Jewish people.  They wanted Pilate to crucify him.  To that end they had laid out charges that Pilate was fairly certain were not true.  In fact, Pilate couldn’t find any real reason to put this young man to death.  Although he found this Jesus from Nazareth a bit odd, he certainly didn’t find him to be any sort of threat to Rome or the Jewish people either one.  He was also fairly certain the the religious leaders were jealous of him.  Because Judea was subservient to Rome, the Jews couldn’t simply put jesus to death themselves, so they wanted Pilate to do their dirty work for them.

There were also things about this case that Pilate found troubling, even frightening.  His own wife had sent him a message saying he should not have anything to do with this man.  She had apparently had troubling dreams about him.  Then there was something the Jews had said that sent a cold chill down Pilate’s spine,

“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”   

When Pilate heard this statement it caused him to quake to the very core of his being.  He quickly rushed Jesus back into his headquarters to try and find out more information from him.  Who was he really?  Where was he from?  The answer Jesus gave only caused Pilate to be more confused and frustrated.

He then brought Jesus back out to where the Jews were waiting. He took a moment to look over the crowd and then said to them, “Behold your king!”  This brought a violent reaction from the crowd as they began to shout, “Crucify!  Crucify him!”  Pilate then asked, “Shall I crucify your king?”  The response of the chief priests caused Pilate to capitulate to their demands.  The religious leaders looked steadily at Pilate and said,

“We have no king but Caesar.”

How Accurate

It’s interesting how accurate this statement was.  On average the Jews hated the Romans and chafed under their rule.  The religious rulers of the day also knew, however, that their very existence depended on them staying within the good graces of Rome.  This was one reason why Jesus caused them such great concern.  He came with the proclamation that the Kingdom of God was at hand (breaking in upon them) (Mark 1:14 – 15).  In literal terms this meant that God was going to once again be King over His people.  This was a politically charged statement with huge ramifications.  If Rome were to get wind of it, it could make life difficult to say the least.  It also explains the fears of the religious leaders after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.

45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. 46 But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs. 48 If we allow him to go on like this, soon everyone will believe in him. Then the Roman army will come and destroy both our Temple and our nation.”  John 11:45 – 48  NLT

Have you ever thought about the fact that who we fear actually rules our lives?  That being the case, the Jews standing before Pilate truly had no king but Caesar.

Who is Our Caesar?

Who is the person that we fear to the point of compromising our allegiance to King Jesus?  Who is our Caesar?  Maybe its

  • The young lady you like whom you are afraid will reject you if she finds out you are a Christian.
  • The co-workers you are afraid will harass you if you speak up for Christ.
  • The church you are afraid will be disappointed if you step away from the ministry you feel the Lord calling you out of.
  • The wife you are afraid will leave you if you share that you have been feeling a call to the mission field.

I’m sure the list could go on and on, but I think you get the point.  Anyone we bow to in fear, causing us to compromise our allegiance to Jesus Christ, is the one who is really the Lord of our lives.  In far to many lives there is no king but Caesar, whatever form Caesar might take.

There is Only One King

Let’s make no mistake about it:  there is only one King.  There is only One whom we will answer to one day.  Other kingdoms may rise and fall, His remains eternal.  Other kings, real and supposed, may come and go, He will remain.  We have no King but Jesus.  Let us prove this by daily, without compromise, living in the Reign.

M

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