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A Crown for a King

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What's the most you've ever paid for something? Did it mean something to you?
You see, this morning, we're going to start to see the price Jesus paid for us and the great cost of it- his suffering, shame, pain, and death. And he paid a high price. Why? What was it for? Allow me a moment to list some verses and the reasons Christ died directly from Peter and Paul themselves:
Romans 5:6–8 NLT
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Jesus died for us, but specifically, what for?
Romans 14:9 NLT
Christ died and rose again for this very purpose—to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.
Jesus died so that we could acknowledge his Lordship. He made the Kingdom of God now. With his death, he established the reign of the kingdom of God on the earth here and now, and he has called us his people- that all those who have been his throughout the ages, living and dead, might acknowledge him as Lord- remember Philippians 2?
1 Corinthians 15:3 NLT
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.
And also in 1 Peter, it says:
1 Peter 3:18 NLT
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
Romans 3:25–26 NLT
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.
Jesus died for our sins- he died to remove the guilt of our sins and to make us right with God.

Jesus is our Propitiation and Expiation

Propitiation specifically, is the turning away of the wrath of God- Jesus has turned away the wrath of God for those who are covered by his blood and saved by his grace.
Expiation is the removal of guilt for a crime committed- Jesus has removed our guilt by declaring us innocent.
Galatians 2:21 NLT
I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Jesus died to give us righteousness. To make it as though we had perfectly kept the Law of God, when it was him. He gives us imputed righteousness. Like someone with an infinite supply of money allowing someone to charge everything to him and never running out of funds, so is Jesus' righteousness for us- nothing we do can diminish the finished work of Christ.
This, and much more is what Jesus died for out of love- though at a word, he could have been freed from his captivity, he loves us, and so, he died- and here's the cost:
John 19:1 NLT
Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.
Now, we have an issue with the interpretation that the NLT takes here. John simply records that he is flogged. And the way he glosses over the detail here makes it sound like it is not severe. So why does the NLT add in "with a lead-tipped whip"?
According to Roman law, there were three types of flogging, fustigatio, flagellatio, and verberatio.
Fustigatio was the least severe form of flogging, generally for mild crimes and accompanied by a severe warning against the behavior for which the flogging was given.
Flagellatio was a moderate flogging, brutal in its own right and reserved for criminals whose offenses were more serious.
Verberatio was the most severe form of flogging, and was always accompanied by a more severe punishment like crucifixion.
The NLT is making the interpretive decision that the flogging Jesus received here was verberatio. This conclusion does not make sense because Pilate has not handed down a sentence for Jesus yet. Pilate was still trying to gin up sympathy for Jesus and get them to let him go, declaring that he was innocent of any wrongdoing. No, the flogging that Pilate gave Jesus here was probably fustigatio a flogging meant to generate sympathy for Jesus among the bloodthirsty crowd that had gathered and demanded his crucifixion.
This means that Jesus probably received two floggings. Once before his sentence, and once after his sentence. The second would have been like we see in The Passion of the Christ- verberatio. Since John doesn't mention another flogging, let me describe this second flogging Jesus received on our behalf.
Verberatio was brutal. It was meant to weaken and dehumanize its victim before their death. Jesus would have been stripped naked and tied to a post, and beaten with whips by several men until they were either exhausted, or their commanding officer ordered them to stop. The whips were leather with bone fragments, or lead, or shards of glass or pottery embedded in them for maximum damage. And these beatings were so brutal that it was not uncommon for men to die while receiving them.
Describe the act
Eyewitnesses to these brutal floggings said that often the victims were left with bones and entrails exposed. Often, eyes were gouged out in this process, and some people no longer looked like humans after this severe torture.
Isaiah 52:14 NLT
But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.
And this is what we deserve for our sin. Jesus paid this price for us in blood, and in dignity.
John 19:2–6 NLT
The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face. Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!” When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” “Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
They mock him. They strip Jesus of all his dignity. They place a crown of thorns on his head. They give him a purple robe denoting royalty and bow down in mockery.
Jesus truly bears the curse here. Remember the curse?
Thorns are a symbol for the curse.
Genesis 3:17–18 NLT
And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.
This is the same word as in Genesis 3:18. Jesus bears the curse upon himself.
Galatians 3:13 NLT
But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
And the end of the story is Jesus saying, "Behold, I am making all things new.” This is how, right here, by bearing the curse in himself.
John 19:7–11 NLT
The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
Sonship in the Jewish sense talks about inheritance. If Jesus is the son of God, everything that God has belongs to Jesus.
So, of course Pilate would be frightened. What if he were being pressured to crucify the son of God. He would be calling down the wrath of that God on himself. It's like the parable that Jesus tells in Luke 20:
Luke 20:9–19 NLT
Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away. “ ‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’ “But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him. “What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.” “How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested. Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.” The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.
Pilate didn't want to be counted among the wicked farmers, so he asks Jesus to substantiate or reject the claim of the Pharisees that he claimed to be the Son of God.
And when Jesus doesn't answer, Pilate pleads for his cooperation, saying:
John 19:10 NLT
“Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
But Jesus knows the breadth of the situation, and does not give in to the temptation to place his trust in men. And neither should we. In the face of pressure and persecution, our words should echo the reformer, Martin Luther, who, when he was being tried as a heretic and debating with the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church at the Diet of Worms and was maneuvered into a position of siding with Scripture or with the culture in the church said:
Everyone’s a Theologian: An Introduction to Systematic Theology Chapter 5: The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise, here I stand, may God help me, Amen.

So Jesus explains to Pilate from where his authority is derived and makes known to him that Jesus is in greater authority still- it is not Pilate's word holding Jesus there, but God's. It is not Pilate's grace that could set Jesus free, but Jesus' grace that could set Pilate free. There was no escape.
John 19:12–16 NLT
Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’ Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.” When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people, “Look, here is your king!” “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!” “What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back. Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away.
Pilate was convinced, and tried to release Jesus, not wanting to incur the wrath of God, but God had other plans. And the Jews pressed him, saying that if he didn't crucify Jesus, he was unfit to govern, and that, basically, they would report him to Rome. If that happened, and the emperor found out that Pilate had released someone who claimed to be a king, then Pilate would have suffered his punishment instead- crucifixion. So Pilate reluctantly caves.
And the Jews claim to have no king but Caesar. How true this was, since they had just rejected their own king. This wasn't the first time that Israel had rejected its true king.
1 Samuel 8:4–9 NLT
Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the LORD for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
And Samuel warns them, and still they reject their true king in favor of men. And God makes it clear- it's a rejection of him.
What ways in your life do you reject your king? How do you remove him from his throne?
He died to be both Lord and Savior. Is he both to you?
Jesus said:
Mark 8:34–38 NLT
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
How are you dying to yourself? Are you killing the sin in you and telling your impulses "no" and submitting the the Lorship of Christ, or are you placing yourself on the throne in his place and doing what you want, what feels good, what is convenient and expedient?
Be washed by the blood of Jesus as your savior, but be adopted by Jesus as your Lord.


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