Who is King of the Jews? That is the big question at both the beginning and the end of Jesus’ life.
Magi came seeking the newborn King of the Jews. But Herod was already occupying that title, and he would tolerate no rivals. Jesus’ parents barely got him out of town before Herod’s forces swept in and massacred the baby boys in an attempt to be sure no other “King of the Jews” could threaten his throne.
Thirty-three years later, the same question arose. The religious elite, jealous of Jesus’ popularity, insisted that he be executed on the grounds that “he claims to be Christ, a king.” (Luke 23:2) After grilling Jesus, Governor Pilate is still hesitant to condemn a man who seems to be innocent. Then Jesus’ enemies play their trump card: “”If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” Finally he asks the religious leaders, “Shall I crucify your king?” Their response: “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:12-16)
But Pilate (or I prefer to think it was God, acting through Pilate) had the last say when he prepared the accusation to be posted above Jesus’ head on the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
So who was king of the Jews—Herod, Caesar, or Jesus who was rejected by both the political and the religious establishment? Jesus is the only one of those who was a Jew. And He is the only one who is alive today. One day Jesus’ own people will finally acknowledge Him as their true King. What a day that will be! God’s people from the Jews and Gentiles united together under Jesus as not only King of the Jews but King of Kings and Lord of Lords!