August 14

Text: Matthew 23:39

"For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'" (NASB)

A common image used in the Bible—both Old and New Testaments—was that of a king and the appropriate behavior to honor a king.  To dishonor a king’s representative was to dishonor that king.

An appropriate behavior before a king was to bow.  A person bowed for two basic reasons.  (1) If one was a subject, the subject bowed because the subject knew the person or the position deserved honor.  The subject willingly bowed out of personal desire because he praised the king, the position, or both. 

(2) In ancient days, the king commonly led his troops into battle.  An enemy (or enemies) threatened the king’s reign and kingdom.  The solution: conquer the enemy.  A defeated enemy often accepted his defeat by bowing to the victorious king.

Thus, a person would bow because of desire or defeat.  It mattered not if it was the King himself or the King’s representative, one would bow out of desire or defeat.

Jesus knew Jerusalem was on the verge of total defeat.  The Jewish Council certainly did not feel on the verge of ruin.  Certainly, they experienced recent setbacks with Jesus, but they were nowhere near defeat.  We know that in just days Jesus would be dead and buried.  We also know—as did Jesus—that what seemed to be certain defeat was no more than the entrance to an astounding victory.

In days the Jewish leaders felt the exhilaration of victory.  However, that feeling quickly turned into agonizing exasperation!  They who were responsible for Jesus’ death suffered the impact of his resurrection.  His followers grew to be thousands as his enemies fumbled about in ineffectiveness.

Jesus invited his enemies to bow in repentance, but they rejected Jesus.  Now they would bow in defeat.

Suggestion for reflection: How do you bow to Jesus?  (Read Philippians 2:5-11.)

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