The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
March 16, 2014


1) I Am King of the Jews (John 19:21) (John Humphries)
2) When Nobody Notices (Shane Williams)
3) Gossip's Corrupt Fruit (Tom Moody)


I Am King of the Jews
(John 19:21)

by John Humphries

At the crucifixion of Jesus, Pilate wrote a title "Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews" (John 19:19).  This offended the Jews, and they wanted Pilate to reword the title to say that this was what Jesus had said: the implication being that this was only an empty claim (v. 21).  Their continuing unbelief was, indeed, foul and obstinate.  Pilate, however, refused the demands of the chief priests and, thus, the title remained (v. 22).  

The text does not discuss any motives that Pilate may have had in posting the title above the head of Jesus.  But, nevertheless, Pilate was proclaiming what was the reality concerning Jesus, whether or not he intended to do so.  Jesus, most assuredly, is the king of the Jews!

When Jesus came before Pilate, they discussed the issue of Jesus being the king of the Jews (John 18:33-38).  Before Pilate, Jesus acknowledged and confessed that he was the king of the Jews (John 18:37; 1 Tim. 6:13-16).  But, no doubt, Pilate was swimming in strange and deep waters (as far as his spiritual understanding was concerned) when he was discussing with Jesus the idea of being the king of Israel.  He certainly had no clear concept as to what the prophets foretold concerning the Messiah king who would sit on "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32; Hos. 3:5; Ps. 132:11).  To Pilate, and many others like him, Jesus' claim to be king (especially in the light of his arrest and imminent execution) was only nonsense and foolishness (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23; 2:8; Acts 26:24).  Pilate had no idea just who it was that stood before him on that fateful occasion (John 19:10-11).  There was obviously no clear understanding that the Messiah would also be the suffering servant, before being raised up to sit on the right hand of God, having "all authority in heaven and in earth" (Ps. 22:1, 27-28; Isa. 53:4, 12; Ps. 2:1-3, 6-12; Matt. 28:18; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:29-36).  Before the crown, Jesus would have to endure the cross (Heb. 12:1-3)!  

The Jews were not much better off than Pilate, as far as understanding this truth concerning their Messiah king and the spiritual nature of his kingdom (Acts 3:17; 13:27; Matt. 11:25; Luke 19:14).  The Jewish leadership was also more concerned about political freedom than they were the spiritual freedom that Jesus offered them (John 1:11; 6:15; 8:30-36; 11:45-48; 18:36).  Jesus simply did not fit into their materialistic view or mold of what the Messiah king would be (cf. John 19:14-15).  They wanted freedom from Rome; but, instead, Jesus offered them spiritual freedom from sin through the cross.  Only a remnant of the Jews would understand and accept Jesus as their Messiah king (Rom. 9:27; 10:21; 11:5, 7; Luke 12:32).  The majority of the Jews remained in spiritual blindness (John 9:40-41; Matt. 15:14; 23:24, 26) and they would ultimately be "cast out" and lost in eternity (Matt. 8:11-12).  

Of course, there were other clashes with the Jewish leadership that led to his rejection.  Jesus forcefully condemned their transgression of God's commandments by their human traditions and commandments (Matt. 15:3, 9).  Jesus also constantly condemned their hypocrisy in no uncertain terms (Matt. 15:7-8; 23:13ff.).  The Lord certainly did not make friends with the leaders in Israel when he drove the money changers out of the temple (Matt. 21:12-13).  This not only hurt their pocketbooks, but it also challenged their authority (Matt. 21:23).  The Jewish leaders were very upset over the fact that Jesus, obviously, condemned them in his teaching (Matt. 21:45- 46).  When they confronted him publicly in debate and tried to humiliate and silence him by carnal tactics, he turned the tables on them time and time again (Matt. 22:15,46).  Other examples of friction between the Lord and the Jews could be given, but these will suffice to show that they were not about to recognize Jesus as their Messiah.  They wanted a king (John 6:15), but not the kind of king that Jesus was (cf. 1 Sam. 8:5, 7; Luke 19:14).  

On the other hand, the gospel of John offers examples of "honest and good hearts" (Luke 8:15) acknowledging Jesus as the "king of the Jews."  One of these was Nathanael who was brought to Jesus by Philip (John 1:45).  When Nathanael was given the invitation by Philip, he objected at first because of doubts concerning the possibility of the Messiah coming out of Nazareth (v. 46; cf. John 7:41-42, 52; also see Matt. 2:1,5-6; Mic. 5:2).  However, when Jesus proved to Nathanael that he had the supernatural ability to know things not possible for him to know as only a man, he acknowledged Jesus as "the Son of God . . . the King of Israel" (vv. 48-49).  

There were also unnamed people who were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah because of the many signs that he did indicating divine approval of his claims for authority and being the "Son of man" (John 5:26-27; 7:31).  The phrase "Son of man" was clearly a messianic one that was used by Daniel (7:13-14) to describe the coronation of the Messiah at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9; 2:32-33,36).  

Other messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the actions of Jesus.  A good example of messianic prophecy fulfillment is when he made his entrance into Jerusalem shortly before his crucifixion (John 12:12-16).  The text (v. 16) indicates that even though the disciples did not fully understand the nature of Christ's kingdom, they did believe in him as king (cf. John 16:12-13; Acts 1:6; Matt. 20:21).        

Certainly the devil challenged the Son of man time and time again, but without success (John 14:30; Heb. 4:14-16).  Satan used the direct approach to ensnare Jesus (Luke 4:1-13), and then, indirectly, made the attempt through others (Matt. 16:21- 23).  He constantly failed, however, to entrap Jesus in sin (John 8:46).  Now, in the very shadow of the cross, Satan is making the attempt through Judas (John 13:2, 27) and also through the Jews and Romans who brutalized, tortured, and executed the Lord on the cross (Acts 2:23,36; 3:13-15; Gen. 3:15).  

But of course, Jesus is king over more than just the Jews.  He is Lord over all and has authority over all (John 17:1-2; Acts 10:36; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 1:5; 17:14; 19:15-16).  Pilate, like wicked Caiaphas (John 12:47-52), may have said and written (John 19:14,19-22) far more truth than he fully understood (also cf. Num. 24:17).  

In connection with this thought, Luke (23:38) also tells us that Pilate wrote the superscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.  As we compare the accounts in the Gospels, we think that the full statement may have been: This is Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.  There may have been slight differences in the wording of the superscription as it appeared in these three different languages.  There is, therefore, the suggestion that this superscription, being written in these key languages, announced to the world in that day that Jesus is "Lord of all" (Acts 10:36; Rom. 9:24) as well as being the king of Israel.  Indeed, as suggested already, Pilate may have written far more truth than he really understood, or even intended, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Jesus Christ is, indeed, "Lord of lords and King of kings!"

-- Via Truth Magazine, November 17, 2005, Volume XLIX, Number 22; http:// www.truthmagazine.com/archives/ volume49/22-november-17.pdf


When Nobody Notices
by Shane Williams

Perhaps you've seen the sign that reads, "Housework is something you do that nobody notices unless you don't do it."

The truth behind that statement applies to more than just housework.  People seem to have no trouble noticing our failures -- anger, impatience, criticism, or imperfections.  Who notices when we "sometimes" get it right?  Sometimes we feel that nobody sees or appreciates what we may do.  This may be true except for one reassuring reality: God sees and He appreciates.  

There are many great and beautiful things in this world that may go unnoticed: A beautiful sunrise that we are not awake to see, the many beauties that lie underwater, etc.  These magnificent things are there and those immense things happen, whether we see them or not.  God sees.         

That reality can also be a source of security or comfort for us.  According to the apostle Paul, we are ultimately serving Jesus Christ.  "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:17).  "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve" (Colossians 3:23,24).  

We are to serve Him with an attitude of thanksgiving and from the heart.  The Lord not only sees and values what we do, but He also will reward us.  "And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary" (Galatians 6:9).  

- Via The Lilbourn Light, Vol.9, No. 9, January 2009


Gossip's Corrupt Fruit
by Tom Moody

"GOSSIP" is idle talk or rumors about others.  The word can also be applied to the person who initiates or repeats such idle talk.  

Many jokes are made about gossip.  Some seem to view gossip as a harmless exercise -- an annoyance or nuisance at worst.  

Christians should realize that gossip (slander, talebearing, being a busy body) is sinful and carries with it the potential of much heartache and devastation.  The sinfulness and seriousness of gossip is clearly illustrated by its effects which are listed in a number of scriptures.  

1. Gossip makes a fool of the one who practices it.  "...he that uttereth a slander is a fool" (Proverbs 10:18).  

2. Gossip causes deep wounds.  "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly" (Proverbs 26:22).  

3. Gossip will separate close friends.  "A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends" (Proverbs 16:28).  

4. Gossip brings shame upon the talebearer.  "Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and disclose not a secret to another: lest he that heareth it put thee to shame and thine infamy turn not away" (Proverbs 25:9-10).  

If you are tempted to gossip, work on purifying your heart (because evil speech proceeds from the heart, Matthew 15:18-20), increase your love for others, and learn to use your speech "to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).  

-- via The Beacon, February 4, 2014


News & Notes

If you are a Christian, it would be appreciated if you would say a prayer for the health of the following people: Virginia Fontenot, Shirley Young, Cheryl Crews, Peggy Lefort, Sarah Webb, and Terry and Pam MacDonald.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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