From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. John 19:12-16
In today’s verses we see a most unusual claim for a Jewish high priest to make, that they had no king but Caesar. From the time of the exodus God was Israel’s king. In fact Israel did not have a king until after much grumbling about wanting to be like all the rest of the nations that God allowed them to have an earthly king. Even then Israel’s king was directly chosen by God. But to pledge allegiance to a secular king was just not to be done, especially a king who was proclaimed to be a god.
Make no mistake; the Caesars were worshiped as gods. Yes Rome was practical and they always allowed conquered nations to continue to worship their own gods but Caesar was the top god. So today we find Jews and the high priests no less who are to have no other gods but God, claiming allegiance to a ruler who claimed godhood.
So great was their desire to kill Jesus that they lost sight of one of their most basic beliefs. A belief that separated them for the other nations, that there was only one God, the God of the patriarchs. They abandoned their king for another in order to kill their own king. They loved their earthly positions so much that they were willing to break the first two of God’s commandments in order to ensure the death of Jesus.
We all need to examine our own lives and see what kings we are pledging our allegiances to. If they are not the King of Kings we have a problem. We need to get rid of these false kings so we can honor our one true King, Jesus Christ. Only when we do that can we truly be free because all other kings will ultimately put us in bondage. Only Christ can set us free.
Have a blessed day,