“The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him” (Mark 15:16-19)
The scenes are riveted in our minds having been played out over and over in countless passion plays, movies and church Easter dramas. Jesus praying in the Garden, dragged before the High Priest, standing before Pilate, beaten and mocked, stumbling under the weight of His burden, then finally hanging on a cross. While the events are staggering, they also offer a key prophetic glimpse into the future. You probably know the story as well as I, but let’s revisit the final hours of Jesus’ life and see what awaits.
All four of the gospels record a similar account of the soldiers’ mocking of Jesus (Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-19; Luke 23:11; John 19:2-3). In each one, Jesus is held up to ridicule as the “king of the Jews”. Matthew, Mark and John also mention Pilate’s sign placed on the cross above Jesus’ head: “the king of the jews.” (The sign angered the chief priests, but Pilate refused to change its wording, perhaps an indication that he believed Jesus was indeed the rightful king of the Jews.) Both Matthew and Mark point out the soldiers’ actions as well as their words: they fell to their knees in false homage to Jesus. Little did they know that their mocking act was indeed a prophecy of what will come.
The Bible tells us that one day – very soon I believe – Jesus is coming again. One of the Old Testament prophets describes it this way: “On that day his
Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name” (Zechariah 14:4, 9). This prophecy declares His return will be an unmistakable spectacle, and the proclamation of His name of will heard throughout the world. Think the news media will notice? Do you believe the world leaders will be aware of this phenomenon? He will be on everybody’s radar. How different from His first visit to earth.
The world did not recognize Him when He came as a helpless infant, nor did they see His greatness when He stood and read Isaiah’s words proclaiming His mission. They did not see Him as the Messiah when He healed the sick, cast out demons and raised the dead. They missed his majesty as He rode into Jerusalem on a lowly beast. They failed to perceive His righteousness when He stumbled under the burden of His cross on the Via Dolorosa. They did not know that the bloodied, battered man that hung on the cross bore the weight of every sin they ever committed. Even the disciples at first still did not quite understand His divine nature when they saw Him resurrected from the dead.
And today He is still mocked and scorned, His name often spat out as a curse soaked in venom. His story is held up as a fantasy and a lie. His teachings are misconstrued at best, dismissed, and even considered “hate-speech” today. His followers have been ridiculed, imprisoned, battered, beaten and martyred for His name. His church, His bride, is attacked from every angle, her wounded lay dying in the dust. Even though His story has been told and retold throughout the ages, even though lives have been transformed and mighty things have been done in His Name, after more than two-thousand years the world still doesn’t recognize Him.
Oh, but one day they will.
John the Revelator penned these words: “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him” (Revelation 1:8). Did you catch that? Even those who pierced him! All those who have mocked Him and ridiculed him will suddenly and clearly see Him as “the Lord of lords and the King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). And what will be their reaction? The Apostle Paul tells us “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10). Every knee. Every tongue. Do you see the irony of the soldiers mocking? Do you see how they were doing in jest what all of humanity will be doing on that glorious day? They will not have a choice. Every person will, out of the sheer power of His majesty and holiness, be compelled to fall to their knees, as if an unseen hand is forcing them to buckle under an irresistible pressure. Every tongue will proclaim His identity and His sovereignty, as if the words were being pulled from their very soul. Paul says even those under the earth will respond to His appearing. For those who reject Him in this life, it will be a moment of abject terror as they confront the truth they so long tried to deny.
But for those who have received Him, who have believed in His Word, who have stood fast in the face of persecution and endured the slings and arrows of the culture in which we live, our knees will gladly bow in honor of His grandeur and our tongues will joyfully confess the Name and praise of Jesus Christ who is forever exalted in heaven and earth. I bow before Him now and offer Him my praise, so that when that day of days comes, I am so well practiced that I slip into the posture of worship as naturally as drawing a breath.
I pray you know Him today as your Savior and Lord. I pray on that day you will greet him as your King and His Name will roll from your lips with delight. I pray that He is as real to you today as He will be when your eyes take in the glorious sight of His face. If you do not know this Jesus, please let this be the day that you say “Yes” to the king of Kings and the lord of Lords.
Jesus, my Savior and Lord, every day with You is filled with joy. Every thought of You draws my breath in amazement. And to think, one day I will see Your glorious face and bow before You as my King. Oh what a wonderful day that will be!