The Naked King
A thousand years before Jesus, King David wrote an inspired Psalm and he said this about an awful experience of suffering, “They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” - Psalm 22:18
In the spring of AD 33 Pilate’s soldiers stripped Jesus, the Son of David, nailed Him to a cross, placed a sign above His head stating the accusation “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews, ” and then sat down to guard their victim. They offered Jesus wine mixed with poison, but He refused. Then they began to gamble with some makeshift chips to determine who got to keep His clothing. Little did they realize that they were acting out God’s description of their actions written hundreds of years before.
The Jewish prophet Isaiah also predicted that a suffering servant would be “numbered with the transgressors” (Matthew 53:12). And when we read Matthew’s crucifixion narrative, he tells us that Jesus was crucified between two thieves, insurrectionists who joined in the ridicule against Jesus. Psalm 22:7 even pictured how this mocking would play out in the crowds that passed and hurled insults at the Man in the middle. He saw the wagging of their heads and their mocking challenge, “You’re the one who said you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Save yourself if you’re the Son of God! Come down off the cross.”
Priests, members of the Sanhedrin, joined in the ridicule. They challenged Jesus’ trust in His Father and His claim to be God’s Son. If they only realized that He remained on the cross because He was God’s Son. Remember Gethsemane where an obedient Son poured out His heart to His Father about the coming crucifixion but chose to do the will of His Father?
Two thousand years of history where Gentile “Christians” have often persecuted Jews has made it tough for Jews today to go back and read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 and see Jesus. But I still believe that an open, honest, careful reading of these texts from the Jewish Scriptures, combined with Matthew’s account, can still lead all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, to stop cursing Jesus and realize that this naked King dying on the cross remained there so that the shameful guilt of all of Adam and Eve’s children could be to paid for once and for all. It’s time to get down on our knees together and exalt Jesus as our Savior and King.
LORD, You set us up for the climax of Your redemptive story hundreds of years before You sent Your Son into the world. Use this devo today to move many to go back and actually read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 and line things up with what Matthew tells us about Jesus’ death. Again I thank Jesus for the fact that He didn’t save Himself so that He could save me and anyone else who will simply trust Him.
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