THE CROSS AND THE KINGDOM
THE CROSS WAS THE WAY BACK TO THE KINGDOM (MARK 15:25-27)
And it was the third hour (about nine o’clock in the morning) when they crucified Him. And the inscription of the accusation against Him was written above,
The King of the Jews.
And with Him they crucified two robbers, one on [His] right hand and one on His left. And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, He was counted among the transgressors.
Jesus was placed on the cross at nine o’clock in the morning. A signboard stating as a warning. Because Jesus was never found guilty, the only accusation placed on his sign was the “crime” of calling himself King of the Jews. This sign was meant to be ironic. A king, stripped and executed in public view, had obviously lost his kingdom forever. But Jesus, who turns the world’s wisdom upside down, was just coming into his kingdom. His death and resurrection would strike the deathblow to Satan’s rule and would establish Christ’s eternal authority over the earth. Few people reading the sign that bleak day understood its real meaning but the sign was absolutely true. Jesus is king of the Jews, and the Gentiles, and the whole universe.
When James and John had asked Jesus for the places of honor next to him in his kingdom, Jesus had told them that they did not know what they were asking (Mark 10:35-39). Here, as Jesus was preparing to inaugurate his kingdom through his death, the places on his right and on his left were taken by two criminals.
A person who wants to be close to Jesus must be prepared to suffer and die as he himself was doing. The way to the kingdom is the way of the cross. If we want the glory of the kingdom, we must be willing to be united with the crucified Christ.