As Christians, we know Jesus Christ is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. But did you know that the first person to formally declare Him to be King was Pilate? Of course, when the disciples went to proclaim the kingdom, the fact that Jesus was the King must have been the center of their message. However, in the Bible, the first person who, perhaps in sarcasm or disdain, announced His royalty, was the very man that turned Him over to the mob to be crucified. He foolishly thought that he could "wash the blood off of his hands" with water, but you and I know differently. Just like Pilate, we, because of our sin, all share in the responsibility for such a horrendous act.
All four Gospels tell something about the sign that was placed above the Lord's head. They are as follows:
*****Matthew 27:37 And set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
*****Mark 15:26 And the superscription of His accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
*****Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over Him, in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
*****John 19:19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS
Pilate probably had no idea that his sign was correct, but all of us who have been given faith to believe, know that it is true. Thanks be to God for revealing it to us; our faith is the result of His grace and mercy!
Jesus is the King, and He is the Door through which we have access to His kingdom. But, the door was apparently "locked." In Matthew 16:17-19, Jesus says that He is going to give to Peter "the keys of the kingdom of heaven. What on earth does that mean? The answer is found in a few passages in the book of Acts. In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells His disciples that they were to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the rest of the world. This is extremely important, because according to the Jews of that day, there were three kinds of people: Jews (Jerusalem and Judea), Samaritans (part of Israel that differed from orthodox Jews), and Gentiles (everyone else). The Apostle Peter was present when each of these groups of people were acknowledged as followers of Christ. In Acts 2, Peter preached Christ, and the Holy Spirit added 3,000 Jews to the Church. In Acts 8, Peter was present when the Holy Spirit fell upon the Samaritans adding them to the Church. And, in Acts 10, Peter preaches Christ to the Gentiles, and the Holy Spirit bore witness that they, too, were to be part of the Church.
I am not sure why Peter was used of God to authenticate the validity of the Church being made up of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. My Catholic friends believe it has to do with Peter being the first Pope. I, on the other hand, believe it was because Peter denied the Lord three times. In John 21:15-17, Peter is told to feed His flock three times. Since the flock of Christ, the Church, is made up of three kinds of people, perhaps Jesus was telling Peter to include everyone: it is obvious that God did.
The Kingdom of Heaven has one King, Jesus Christ the Lord. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all would repent (turn around and follow Him). The keys are no longer needed. The Door is open. The Father is drawing us to His Son. The Holy Spirit is giving the lost faith to believe. Won't you turn from leading a life without hope to a life eternal? The keys have given you access to His very presence. Come on in!