Not This King!
The imagination of the Jews must have been stirred by the announcement that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Jesus added to the excitement with the many miracles He performed. However, their anticipation turned out to be quite different than what God intended.
Most Jews anticipated a military leader who would rise up and restore the nation to a place of prominence and prosperity.
“By far the most popular view of the Messiah was as a warrior king, who would appear as political champion and military hero to rally to his standard the Jews of every nation and lead them in a victorious onslaught against their enemies. Heathen oppressors would be annihilated and God’s elect would become the world’s conquerors” (The New Testament World, pp. 133-134).
“Here He and they were at complete variance. They emphasized the first part of the phrase, ‘the kingdom,’ and He the second, ‘of God.’ They expected the new era to appear in magnificent material forms — in a kingdom of which God indeed was to be the ruler, but which was to show itself in worldly splendor, in force of arms, in a universal empire…They looked for a period of external glory and happiness” (Concise Life of Christ, p. 56).
Jesus and the kingdom He promised did not fit that idea. He was not interested in accumulating political or military power, and even fled when they tried to take Him by force and make Him king (John 6:15). Furthermore, He spoke of citizens in the kingdom as being “poor in spirit” and “persecuted” (Matthew 5:3, 10-11). This led many Jews to reject Him.
You can tell a lot about a kingdom by its king. Let us then consider how Jesus measured up to the Jewish standard erected in their own minds.
(1) His parents — a lowly carpenter and a peasant woman (Matthew 13:55)
(2) His palace — nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58)
(3) His people — uneducated, common men (Acts 4:13)
(4) His posture — bent down washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:3-5)
(5) His pomp — a crown of thorns with mockers kneeling before Him (Matthew 27:29)
(6) His platoon — eleven men who could not use their swords (Matthew 26:52)
(7) His procession — bearing His own cross to Golgotha (John 19:17)
This man was simply not acceptable to most Jews. He was the opposite of what they expected in a king. Nor did they find any comfort in hearing about a kingdom for “losers.” Sadly, many today also look for a kingdom that is very different than the one God intended. They seek an earthly kingdom with geographic boundaries. They fail to realize that the true kingdom has already been established, and that it is spiritual in nature (Colossians 1:13; Luke 17:20-21; John 18:36). It is the church (Matthew 16:18-19).
The majority of Jews rejected the kingdom of Christ. He was not their kind of king. That begs the question, is He our kind of king?