John 19:12-16a

As an American living in Morocco, I’m learning for the first time what it means to live under a king’s rule. King Mohammed VI of Morocco isn’t just a figurehead—he’s actually a reigning monarch who has real power over the everyday lives of his citizens and foreign residents. And he’s a good king! He’s provided stability to the country, enhanced Morocco’s diplomatic relations, and managed the country wisely. It’s his royal decree that allows our church to function as a spiritual home for Protestant foreigners. My role with the church exists because the king allows it.

It’s a fragile relationship, though. Our church is careful to respect the laws of the kingdom, and we honor and pray for the king of our land. We know that one step out of line could have serious consequences for the future of our Christian witness. I find myself joining the rest of Morocco in being careful about how I speak of the king and the royal government.

I can only imagine how it might have felt for the Jews of the occupied Roman state. Rome, while heavy-handed sometimes, did allow their subjects to have their own rituals and maintain their languages and cultures. I wonder how calculated the risk was to follow Jesus. If they worshiped a different King than Caesar, would it cost them everything? Were they willing to risk all they knew to follow someone who others considered a blasphemous impostor? What does the witness of the early disciples—who knew the consequences of calling Jesus “Lord”—inspire in us?


How do the political realities that governed the crowd’s attitudes and actions in today’s text influence us today? How does following Christ challenge our political tendencies?


King of the Universe, rule in my heart and life until my full allegiance is yours. Amen.

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