It was one of the main reasons they put him to death. He had ridden into Jerusalem and allowed the people to praise him as king. His Triumphal Entry into the city ended a week later with a crown of thorns and a sign over his head reading, “King of the Jews.”
As he rode into Jerusalem, the people loved him. They assume he was coming to launch a political overthrow of Rome. As the week progressed, however, he failed to meet their expectations. Instead of heading to the center of Rome’s political authority, he went to the temple and began clearing out the corruption. By the end of the week, it was clear that he was not who they wanted him to be. They should have realized this when he came in riding on a donkey instead of a white horse, but they saw what they wanted to see.
They were so disillusioned with Jesus that when Friday arrived, they would rather have Barabbas released than him. Barabbas may have been a failed insurrectionist, but at least he was trying. The Jews rejected him as king, and the Roman soldiers wanted to show the world what happens to anyone claiming to be king with plans to overthrow Rome.
So Jesus died on the cross with a sign over his head reading, “King of the Jews.” They were mocking him, of course, but it was true. He was not only king of the Jews but also king over Rome and the rest of the world.
Even while he was in the tomb, Rome guarded his body, but on the third day, he arose, and all authority in heaven and on earth was his. One day Jesus will ride in on a white horse to conquer his enemies, but we would never have wanted that if he had not first ridden in on a donkey. For if he had not first come in humility to die in our place, none of us would be able to stand when he rides his white horse.
The King is coming back, and the only way to be ready for that terrible day is first to accept the king in his humility. Once we have done that, we are to go into all nations, baptizing and making disciples of those who have eyes to see. He is with us, even to the end of the age, and he is the King of the Jews—he is the King of all kings.