Passage: John 19:1-22
Speaker: Skye Jethani
Series: Core Values – Discipleship
Transformed As We Follow The Crucified King
On Palm Sunday, the crowds in Jerusalem celebrated the arrival of Jesus as their king and savior with shouts of “Hosanna!” (meaning “Deliver us!”). Just five days later, the same crowds were shouting “Crucify him!” and declaring “We have no king but Caesar.” What happened?
While John 18 focused on the unjust trial of Jesus, John 19 emphasizes his humiliation. The mocking of the soldiers, the robe, and the crown of thorns were meant to denigrate and embarrass Jesus, but the humiliation went further. Pilate and the Roman soldiers were not just humiliating Jesus, but also the people of Jerusalem. “Behold your King!” Pilate said to the crowds when presenting the pathetic looking Jesus to them. And he intentionally posted the sign on Jesus’ cross “King of the Jews” to antagonize them further.
After centuries of being a defeated and occupied people, the Jews were deeply insecure and longed for respect. Their hopes were raised when Jesus, the powerful prophet who could raise the dead, came to Jerusalem. But Jesus didn’t meet their expectations. Rather than driving out the Romans, he had become an object of their ridicule and humiliation. Seeing the person they had celebrated as their “king” five days earlier now the butt of Roman jokes and scorn was more than they could take. Jesus’ humiliation was also their humiliation. Their honor required his destruction. It was the only way.
The story presents us with two questions. First, are we like the people of Jerusalem? Are we okay following a king the world considers a fool and an embarrassment? When Christians become defensive in our increasingly post-Christian culture, are we really trying to defend Jesus’ honor or just our own? Second, how was Jesus able to endure this humiliation? How was he able to remain silent, not defend himself, or retaliate? Ultimately, we’ll see how Jesus’ security and identity were rooted in his Father rather than in the acceptance of the world.