History of Redemption: Blog Post 15
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations”. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them”. Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles”. - 1 Samuel 8:4-5; 7; 19-20 (NASB) "They have rejected Me from being king over them". I am writing this on Good Friday. These words today come alive to me, in a powerful way. God had created a people for Himself. He had loved them, and protected them. He had spoken to them, and had showered them with His kindness and His grace. They in their depravity had rejected Him. In His perfect timing, God Himself entered into the history of redemption in human flesh, as the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He came in humility, and gentleness. He came because, despite our rejection of Him, He loved us. "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet he opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, He was led before "the chief priests and the rulers and the people" (Luke 23:13). And Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?" And they cried out again, "Crucify him." And Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him" (Mark 15:12-14). "They have rejected Me from being king over them". "But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed" (Luke 21:23). "They have rejected Me from being king over them".
I remember as a young boy, in church, as the priest read from the passion narrative, at the appointed time, the whole congregation would shout, in unison, "crucify him". This left a strong impression on me. It was impossible at that moment to convince myself that it was "everyone else" who had rejected God. I knew it was me. I knew it was my sin that had crucified Him. "They have rejected Me from being king over them".
I remember the first time I saw The Passion of the Christ. It was as if I was watching my best friend be rejected, brutally tortured and murdered. "They have rejected Me from being king over them". I left the theater that night with my heart broken wide open.
I remember the countless times I have chosen to forsake my God, to deny Him, to walk away from Him. "They have rejected Me from being king over them".
Let us mourn and weep as we remember today that we have rejected our Most High God from being king over us. And then let us allow God to transform that mourning into joy, as we remember how He in His infinite wisdom transformed our rejection of Him into salvation. Let us cry as we remember that it was our sin that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross, and then let us celebrate with hearts of gladness as we look upon the empty tomb. Let us praise Him with outstretched arms as we remember that we, "who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame, by triumphing over them in him" (Colossians 2:13-15). That is my King.
My God and Savior, forgive me for all the ways that I have rejected You from being king over me. Allow my heart to mourn over this, and then turn my tears into laughter and let me shout for joy as I celebrate Your victory over sin and satan and death. To You be the glory forever and ever and ever. Amen.
"Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10-12).