Jesus In the Center

Reference John 19:1-24

And He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

When Jesus was sent before Pilate, he first asked the chief priests “what accusations do you bring against this Man?” They answered that He was an evildoer or else they would not bring Him to Pilate (John 18:29-30). Pilate initially told them “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “it’s not lawful to put anyone to death” (John 18:31-32).

The truth was the chief priests were not spiritual men. They were wealthy because they learned to profit from their religious positions. Their loyalty was to their god of money along with their wealthy positions and titles it brought them. Pilate realized their charges against Jesus had to do with their positions being threatened and the actual charges against Jesus were falsely given.

Jesus acknowledged to Pilate that He is a King, but that His kingdom is not of this world. He came into this world to establish a spiritual kingdom. But the most revelatory statement Jesus declares is when after Pilate not satisfied with Jesus’ silence to His questions tells Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” (John 19:10) In which Jesus answered, “You could not have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11).

This is how the Spiritual kingdom of Christ is established by the power of God, through the working of the Holy Spirit. Everything prophesied must be fulfilled that Christ, the Son of God would come to earth to die on the cross for sinful man. And after three days would rise from the grave to give us eternal life by our faith and trust in Him.

The KING ON A CROSS — And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center (John 19:17-18). Both criminals at first mocked Jesus the Gospel of Matthew 27:44 tells us. But one of them who after seeing the suffering Messiah being so falsely treated, had a change of heart. And demonstrates something Jesus wanted His own disciples to grasp and learn after three years of being with them, that His kingdom was not of this world. Now as He is dying hanging from the cross all of the prophecies of His death being fulfilled, to the disciples this meant the end of His kingdom. They had not thought of His resurrection from the dead, that He would come back again and would reign in His glory once again. But this criminal, perhaps after hearing Jesus speak and pray from the cross believed that He had a kingdom beyond the grave and asked Jesus to remember him when He enters that Kingdom. The criminal understood Jesus loved repented sinners, and it was enough for him to believe and ask for his forgiveness. And as Jesus returned to God, He bore in His arms the soul of a criminal as a kind of first fruits of His mission to redeem the world of lost sinners.

Jesus declared to His disciples, “it is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life” (John 6:33). As we think ourselves as NT believers and want to have a closer walk with the Lord, our desire should be that we would want Jesus to be center of our lives. For years I always prayed, Lord, help me be a good husband, and a good father. And as the years went by, a good father in-law, and grandfather. But I realize today, If I just asked and desired Jesus to be the center of my life, all the people important to me would be blessed too, because the fruit of righteousness would be lived and payed forward into our marriage and family life. Why shouldn’t we want Jesus to be the center of our lives, after all; He was in the center while hanging from His cross to redeem sinful man.

WALK IN THE LIGHT— Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for thy loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And He who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the Word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak” (John 12:42-50).

Even in the midst of agony, as Jesus hung on the cross, He reached out to save one of the criminals hanging next to Him. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” And they divided His garments and cast lots (Luke 23:34). James 5:16 says, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. I ask you dear friend, “How much more righteous a prayer is there than the Son of God’s prayer on the cross?”

May the Lord richly bless you!