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Good Friday, March 29, 2024

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Good Friday, March 29, 2024

Kings were always a problem for the Israelites.  The Israelites were often at war with foreign kings.  Yet, they came to covet those kings of other nations (cf. Sam. 8).  Samuel, the last of the judges, warned them of the greed and corruption a king would bring to the nation.  But, nonetheless, the people demanded a king.  So, the people got Saul, then David, and then Solomon, the only kings to rule over a united Israel.  After Solomon, the nation split into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom.  Both north and south had successions of kings, a few good, most were bad.  Eventually, after suffering a series of conquests by foreign nations including the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Greeks, the people came to be ruled by the Roman Empire and its Caesar.

What we hear from the chief priests in their answer to Pilate’s question regarding Jesus’ fate, “Shall I crucify your king?” simply continues the rejection by the Israelite leaders of the Lord their God as king over them.  In their insistence, “We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests stand in a line of rulers extending back in time to Samuel’s day when the Lord told him, “…they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Sam. 8:7).  By some ways of reckoning biblical chronology, there’s about a thousand years… ten centuries… one millennium… from Samuel’s day to Jesus’ day.  All that time… all those opportunities… and still the Israelites and their leadership continued to reject the Lord their God as ruler over them.

The Word of God, proclaimed among us still, continues to expose every generation in its rejection of the Lord their God from being ruler over them.  This enduring Word reveals all as sinners standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those Israelites demanding of Samuel, “No!  But there shall be a king over us (1 Sam. 8:19) … standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those chief priests before Pilate and shouting, “We have no king but Caesar!” (Jn. 19:15).  We sinners will have any king but the Lord our God.

Table Talk:  Discuss all the people and influences that come to rule over you through their demands.  Pray:  Heavenly Father, rule over me and bring me good even though I reject you as my king.  Amen

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