International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday April 13, 2014
Purpose: To confess our complicity in rejecting God’s true priest and king
Bible Lesson: Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zechariah 6:9-15; John 19:1-5
Background Scripture: Hebrews 7:13
Jeremiah 23:5-6 (CEB)
(5) The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous descendant from David’s line, and he will rule as a wise king. He will do what is just and right in the land. (6) During his lifetime, Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And his name will be The Lord Is Our Righteousness.
Zechariah 6:9-14 (CEB)
(9) The Lord’s word came to me: (10) Take silver and gold from the exiles who came from Babylon, from Heldai, from Tobijah, and from Jedaiah. As for you, go that same day to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah. (11) Take silver and gold and make a crown. Place it on the head of the high priest Joshua, Jehozadak’s son. (12) Say to him, "The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: Here is a man. His name is Branch, and he will branch out from his place; he will build the Lord’s temple. (13) He will build the Lord’s temple. He will be majestic; he will sit and rule on his throne. There will be a priest on his throne, and the two of them will share a peaceable plan. (14) The crown will be a memorial in the Lord’s temple for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and for Hen, Zephaniah’s son.
John 19:1-5 (CEB)
(1) Then Pilate had Jesus taken and whipped. (2) The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple robe. (3) Over and over they went up to him and said, "Greetings, king of the Jews!" And they slapped him in the face. (4) Pilate came out of the palace again and said to the Jewish leaders, "Look! I’m bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no grounds for a charge against him." (5) When Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here’s the man."
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
For me this lesson is boiled down to the verse from John 19:3 Over and over they went up to him and said, "Greetings, king of the Jews!" And they slapped him in the face.
That verse raises the question that all of us are required to answer, “How many times have we slapped Jesus in the face? We might not be aware of it, but many times when we deny that Jesus is exactly who he claimed to be, it is a slap in the face to Jesus.
There are times when we accept Jesus as the “Risen Savior.” There are also times when we can accept him as our “High Priest,” the one that can forgive and grant us salvation. What might be harder for us to accept is that of “King.”
A king requires us yield to his authority, to be one of his subjects. A king is responsible for the safety and well-being of his kingdom. We are often more interested in having an easier lifestyle, than obeying the king. Our goal is often to create our own little kingdom where we rule, and our life becomes about our happiness and achieving fame and fortune that glorifies us.
The Jewish people in Jesus day had plenty of prophecy, about a Messianic king, and a righteous ruler. However, very few recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah. Would we have been different? I am afraid most of us might have been like Pilate, while he approved of the beating, mocking and slapping of Jesus, he tried to declare his own innocence by proclaiming “Here is the man.”
He was not “the man” he was God. A God unlike any other. Jesus was not just a man, and he was not “just God.” He was the creator, the redeemer of all creation, and the means by which everyone could achieve eternal life. Whenever we forget or ignore that, we “slap Jesus in the face.”
Jesus is not the tooth fairy, or the Easter Bunny, nor is he Santa Claus. Jesus came to earth and went through the awful suffering of “The Passion” in order to redeem humankind. When we proclaim him as a great teacher, or philosopher it is a slap in the face. John 3: (17) God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.