When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” I Samuel 8:1-9 ESV
So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” John 8:33-38 ESV
Sidney wanted to watch a movie on Friday evening. It wasn’t a good movie for him to see, but all his friends were watching it. Sidney wanted to be just like his friends, and he was upset when his mom and dad said they wouldn’t allow him to see the movie. His dad explained to him, “Your mom and I don’t think this movie would be good for you. It would teach you some things that we don’t agree with. We have different ideas than your friends’ parents, and so we can’t let you watch the movie.” Sidney didn’t like being different. He wished he had parents who were just like his friends’ parents.
When Samuel began to get old, he let his sons do some of his work, but sadly they were not like their father. They were crooked and could be bought by people who were willing to pay them money. Samuel must have been sad about his sons, but he was even sadder about the people’s reaction to them. They decided that they wanted a king. They wanted the kind of king who would make them a strong nation and fight their battles for them. They wanted to be like everybody else, but they had forgotten that they actually were different from the other nations. They had God for a king, and it was him they were turning their backs on.
God has given us a king, his own Son Jesus. Jesus is different from any other king. Other kings have power and authority in this world, and are treated with respect. But Jesus wasn’t treated with respect. He was beaten and yelled at and finally put on a cross. The Roman governor who sentenced him to death couldn’t believe he was a king, because this isn’t the way kings in this world are treated. Jesus let himself be treated this way because he wanted to forgive our sins and save us, and dying on the cross was the way he did that. Jesus died for his people, even though we had turned away from him. There’s no king in all the world like Jesus!
Dear Jesus, thank you for being our king and coming to help and save us. Amen.