Friday, April 22, 2011

Caesar and Jesus

I'm always haunted by the people's response at Jesus' trial. Yes, "crucify him" indicts all of us. Who killed Jesus? You and I did. It was my sins that sent him to the cross.

Beyond that, though, I am haunted by another response that day long ago. It is one that conflicts with the response of love we need to make to the King whose kingdom is not of this world.

As Jesus stood before Pilate, the people who for hundreds of years had been God’s people cried, “Crucify him!”

Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.

We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered (Jn. 19:15,16).

The Jewish leaders choosing Caesar over Jesus is all too much like some "Christians" today who seem far more concerned with America and its politics than being salt and light in the kingdom of God. God’s people today dare not turn their allegiance to “Caesar” for the sake of national status. We cannot give Jesus first place and at the same time give in to the compromising demands of our secular and pagan society. Neither national security nor personal security can be the first concern of the person who is committed to the One who said if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it (Lu 9:23–24).

As the sign over the cross said, Jesus is the King.... and he asks for our total allegiance.

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