Torch, Fall 1996

o many people, the name "Jesus" means anything but victorious King. They view him as a teacher or philosopher, perhaps a pacifist or martyr, or even the founder of a new religion, but not as a triumphant leader. Why do such misconceptions exist? The answer is probably because people are more familiar with the historical Jesus of the Gospels than the prophetic Jesus of The Revelation. Because the purpose of Jesus' first coming was to redeem, the best-known books of the New Testament picture Him as a suffering savior instead of a conquering king. As we learn about Jesus in the four Gospels, the whole demeanor of His first coming 10 Torch was that of the humble servant. On the most "royal" day of Jesus' ministry, when He presented himself as King of Israel on Palm Sunday, He came "lowly and mounted on a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:5). He came not to demand nor control, but humbly to offer Himself to those who would receive him. When His own people rejected His gracious offer, the leadership of the nation abused him. Matthew records that the Sanhedrin, Israel's main ruling body, spat in His face and beat Him with their fists (26:67) . His humiliation continued at the hands of Roman soldiers who unwittingly fulfilled Scripture as they brutalized the Son of God. They punished Him I I 1 physically and scorned His claim to kingship. A crown of cruel thorns pierced His brow. They beat Him on the head with a reed, placed it in His hands as a "royal scepter," and bowed down in mock reverence saying, "Hail, King of the Jews" (27:29). According to Roman custom, they again humiliated Jesus on the cross as they stripped and publicly shamed Him. Even the sign at the top of the cross that proclaimed Him "King of the Jews" was intended by Pilate to insult Jesus and the nation. To the casual observer, these strokes paint a portrait of a weak Jesus. None of these events happened by accident, of course, and in reality all were significant in Jesus' role as