There was a written notice above him, which read: “this is the king of the jews”. Luke 23:38
PETER’S ACTS 2 SPEECH (excerpt) Acts 2:25-36
David said about him (Jesus):
“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ (Ps 16:8-11)
“Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.” (Ps 110:1, Heb 1:13)
Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. Acts 2:25-36
We often take individual rights and freedoms outlined in our democracy for granted. It’s hard to imagine the mindset needed to adjust to a monarchy.
50 years ago, as a new Christian, I casually attached a small bumper sticker on my car proclaiming “The King is Coming.” I didn’t realize this proclamation invoked a monarchy.
The following morning, a co-worker, who had lived in Thailand as a diplomat, saw the bumper sticker. She laughingly said, “It’s a good thing you’re not driving around in Thailand – everyone would go home and prepare for the king’s visit.” At that moment, I understood how unaware I was of customs necessary to honor and respect a king and his power. I had placed that slogan on my car almost as casually as the Romans placed the words above Jesus’ head on the cross: “this is the king of the Jews”. I resolved to think more deeply about what it meant to have Jesus as my King.
Peter’s exhortation in Acts 2 calls the Jewish crowd gathered for the feast of Pentecost to honor and respect the claims of Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah/King. Until that time, the Jews hadn’t had a true, Jewish king for centuries and felt the Roman Caesars (kings) were oppressors. They longed for that to change.
The Bible also records that the overwhelming majority of historical Jewish kings were displeasing- sometimes extremely displeasing- to the Lord. David was the one king who stood out as most pleasing. But, as Peter points out, even David recognized a future king far superior to himself: “God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.”
When Peter finished speaking, the Jewish crowd realized Jesus was their longed-for Messiah/King. Their hearts were penetrated and they cried out: “Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). This should also be our heart cry when we need to more thoughtfully consider how to honor and respect Jesus as King.
Take some time to remind your heart that Jesus is your King by meditating either on the Lord’s Prayer or Hebrews 1 or by singing “Oh, Worship the King.”
By Kathleen Petersen