Pathway of The King

By definition a king is the highest authority.  No one and nothing has more power than the king, and anyone who threatens a king’s authority is in danger of making the king angry.

Lots of people wanted to be the king in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus.  When Jesus was born, “king” Herod was on the throne in Jerusalem.  When wise men from the east asked where to find the newborn king, Herod saw Jesus as a threat to his authority and tried to kill all of the baby boys in the land.

Years later when Jesus was grown, another Herod, a son of the earlier Herod, was on the throne in Jerusalem.  At the same time the city was under the power of Rome where Caesar was the “king,” and Caesar’s governor for the area was Pontias Pilate.  When people began to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, once again He was seen as a threat to royal authority and once again earthly kings sought to take His life.  They sentenced Him to die on a cross.

Symbols of earthly kings were forced on Jesus.  Soldiers draped Him in purple cloth and pressed a crown of thorns on His head.  A sign calling Him “King of the Jews” was fastened to the cross above His head.  Of course, none of this was done to honor Christ.  People were mocking Him.  They rejected the King of kings so that they could flatter themselves and honor earthly kings.

We have the same choice to make today.  Will we honor the King of kings, or will we bow to earthly rulers?  Henry Francis Lyte stated his position clearly in the words of his hymn Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven.

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
to the throne thy tribute bring;
ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
evermore God’s praises sing.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Make the best choice.  Choose to join Lyte in praising the King of heaven on our journey to the foot of the cross.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Challenge of Kings, day 45 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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A Path Unfair

We learn so much about ourselves from watching children.  The way that we react to circumstances is an example.  When children can distinguish between the ways that people are treated, they begin to associate rewards with good behavior.  They also learn that there can be punishment for bad behavior.  Through that process they develop their concept of fairness.  When events and consequences fail to conform with their understanding of that concept, they display as much righteous indignation as they can muster and raise one of the most repeated arguments in history– “That’s not fair!”

Jesus and his disciples traveled to Jerusalem to observe the Passover.  They arranged for a room.  They bought food.  They gathered together.  They shared the Passover meal.  Most of the disciples were unaware that this would be the last Passover meal that they would eat with Christ.

After the meal they went to Gethsemane where Jesus prayed.  Then He was betrayed.  In the dark of night, armed men forcibly took the Lord to appear before the chief priests who prosecuted Him.  Witnesses presented false testimony, but the witnesses were unable to keep their lies straight.  They could not support a conviction.  Then Jesus was asked, “Are you the Messiah?”  He replied, “You have said so.”  They said, “Gotcha!”  Got what?  A kangaroo court in the dead of night with no evidence resulted in conviction?  “That’s not fair!”  But when Caiaphas demanded Jesus’ death, Jesus offered up His life.  He gave His life for us because it was God’s will.

As Christians, we are to be Christlike.  Are we able to follow His footsteps and do God’s will even when life is unfair?  Earl Marlatt asked that question in his hymn Are Ye Able.

“Are ye able,” said the Master,
“to be crucified with me?”
“Yea,” the sturdy dreamers answered,
“to the death we follow thee.”
Lord, we are able. Our spirits are thine.
Remold them, make us, like thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
a beacon to God, to love, and loyalty.

Jesus’ path to the foot of the cross was not fair.  It was never supposed to be.  It was a path of grace for us.  We must face the truth that the path for us will not always be fair, either, but it is the path where we can share the grace we have received.

Follow the Path!

[Use with Challenge of Priests, day 44 of A Labyrinth Pilgrimage]

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