A Different Kind of King—Encountering Jesus

What I Learned In Church

Matthew 27:32-37 (NIV)

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the King of the Jews.

Here’s a test: What is courage?

This professor handed out an exam with a single question. It was an essay-type exam and the essay question was: What is courage? All the students, save one, started writing frantically, giving examples, and expounding on theories taking up the allotted time for the exam. One lone student pondered over the question for a few seconds, wrote down two words, turned in his paper, and walked out of the classroom. The impressed professor read the student’s answer and rewarded the student with a double A+. How did the student answer the question you ask? This is.

Why do you think the professor gave the kid an A+? Because the kid didn’t define courage he demonstrated it.

The dictionary defines courage as the ability to do something that frightens you. I’d say that kid most assuredly had courage. Who walks out of an essay exam after writing down only two words? A person with courage that’s who. Courage is also defined as strength in the face of pain or grief. I agree with both of those definitions. It’s easy to say we have courage or we’re pretty sure if faced with pain or grief we’d have courage. We even hope we’d have courage under those circumstances. But hope will leave you during those times. That’s when courage must step in. This would be courage for me as I’m terrified of heights and wouldn’t even consider jumping out of a plane.

Photo by Muzammil Soorma on Unsplash

If you’re like my granddaughter, Finley, courage is dancing on stage in front of a lot of people or walking into preschool for the first time. At the time of these events, Finley didn’t know she had courage. All she knew was that she’d much rather just be a princess living in a beautiful castle. Finley has loved princesses ever since she’s known what a princess is. Now at the age of four (almost five), her favorite princess is Cinderella. We’ve watched the 2015 movie, Cinderella, at least a million times. What I love about it is the takeaway. The motto of Cinderella is “Have courage and be kind.” This is a motto Finley has adopted. Now when you ask her what’s her motto, she proudly says, “Have courage and be kind.” She shows great courage as she’s now in her final year of preschool and will be going to “big school” kindergarten next school year. And dancing in front of a crowd is no longer scary. Courage has kicked in.

Next question: What is a King?

Is it power, prestige, thrones, or castles? Jesus showed us something different. He defined or should I say demonstrated it differently.

What does a King look like? Jesus blew away all expectations of what a king is. Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Not a stead—a donkey. People tossed down palm leaves in expectation of what they considered a king to look like. Jesus came in humbly. No pomp and circumstance.

Again, the dictionary defines a king as the male ruler of an independent state, especially one who inherits the position by right of birth. Or a person regarded as the finest or most important in its sphere or group. WOW! Must be something else to be a king.

In reality, a true king humbles himself. A true king is not boisterous. A true king humbles himself to raise up others. I wrote a book once titled A Place Called Common Sense. In that book I wrote about leadership and when leaders emerge. I relayed a time when my daddy explained what he called “Leadership 101.” He said, “Take a piece of string. Now lay it on a table. With your finger try to push it. What happens? It becomes a backed-up mess. Now, straighten it out. With your thumb and index finger take hold of the string and pull it. What happens? It follows wherever you lead it. On earth, leadership comes in all genres. Presidents of countries, companies, or universities. Owners of small businesses, school principals, school teachers, military generals, or parents.

Jesus wasn’t like the kind of leaders we have today. Nor was he the kind of kings we have today. Jesus was a king who suffered. He gave of himself. He could have run away but he didn’t. He took the road of suffering. Isaiah 53 describes Jesus perfectly. It describes the meaning of king, leader, and courage. Jesus came to humble himself.

How about suffering? Have you been there? I experienced a bit of suffering over the past several months. I’m still not 100%. Certainly not at the suffering level I was at the beginning. And certainly not at the level I saw my grandma go through. But none of us have ever suffered the way Jesus suffered.

Do you think of Jesus as a king for only a day? The day he was King was the day he suffered and died. King for the day not when he came riding on a donkey into Jerusalem. The people didn’t call him a king because he wasn’t the king they expected. They called him a prophet. However, Jesus exceeded all expectations as to what a king is when he suffered and died on the cross for our sins.

Photo by Christoph Schmid on Unsplash

Do kings really live happily ever after or do they give their life for us?

Why do we worship the cross?

We don’t. It’s a symbol of the Messiah who suffered and gave His life so we might live.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

How can you have a savior who dies? You can’t.

Christ the Lord has risen!

I hope you all had a glorious Easter.

Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash

And that’s what I learned in Church……see ya next time!

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