Bible Readings and Devotion for June 8, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for June 8, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In the Old Testament there is much mention of the Kings. We hear about them in the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and various prophets. Most often the scriptures and prophets make note of these various leaders with the term, “king.” There is a special mention of certain kings which are also referred to as, “prince.” This is not a reference to them being the son of the King of Israel or Judah. Rather, this seems to be a reference to the king being one who truly knows who the ultimate king is.
Two kings of special note are David and Hezekiah. These two were some of those kings who focused on worship of the one true God in the central place, Jerusalem. They both worked to get the people returning to faithful worship of God. They are both mentioned in 2 Kings 20:5, which reads, “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord.”
This faithfulness to the Lord, and knowing that the Lord is the true King, earned them the title of, “prince.” The prince is under the king in authority. These kings seem to have gotten this truth well in their lives and leadership.
This gets us to today’s reading from John’s Passion account. The Jewish leaders who were working to have Jesus crucified had a selective memory and a selective theology. These leaders would say anything they needed to keep themselves safe and to get rid of Jesus. The scene in John 19:15 is as follows: “They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.””
Here this small group of leaders, the Chief Priests, likely just Annas and Caiaphas, rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Remember, the Messiah was the promised return of the Kings in the line of David. They also, for self-preservation, stated that they have no king but the emperor, Caesar, who was himself worshipped as a god. To keep the Romans off their backs they turned against the one true God and King. They either truly got who Jesus is, but did not want to believe it, or they simply did not understand who it was that they had right in front of them. God their King was in their midst, and they missed it.
In response to this truth, we are invited to see who is right in front of us in this scripture. We are invited to see that the suffering and crucified one, Jesus, is the true ruler of our lives. He is the one who is above any leader, rule, governor, or any other human in our lives. We are reminded in scripture that Jesus is Lord. Part of this message for our lives of faith is that Jesus is the ultimate authority in all aspects of our lives. As Lord of our lives, Jesus interacts with all of our decisions, values, and behaviors. Nothing in the life of follower of Jesus is to be outside of his leadership. There are things which will be in line with his rule, and others which need repentance and correction. With Jesus as our true King, we get to learn more and more each day how to follow his will for our daily lives, attitudes, and actions.
On “the Jews” in relationship to this passage and our faith
It is important to note that the Jewish people in general were not seeking to harm Jesus. There is no legitimate basis to hate or disparage or harm any Jews because of the small group of leaders in Jesus’ time worked against him. Remember, Jesus is Jewish, the Apostles were Jewish, the Apostle Paul was Jewish, and nearly 100% of the first Christians were Jewish. Any derogatory attacks on Jews is an attack on all of these I note. Hate is contrary to Christian teachings anyway. We are called and empowered to love our neighbor regardless of the person’s situation, background, ethnicity, etc.
Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.