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April 13, 2014
“The Suffering of the King”
Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zechariah 6:9-15; John 19:1-5
Click here for PDF: The Suffering of the King Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print below. Enjoy!)
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
Employers have a responsibility to keep productive people in position of authority in order for the company to flourish and grow. People work under good leadership and will follow the lead of those operating in the fullest capacity of their God-ordained talent, title and gifts. But, when one becomes a neglectful and harsh leader, those under him/her will falter as a labor force and leave to seek employment, if possible, thereby crippling the growth of the company.
The kings in the days of the Bible had a special position of authority. For not only were they occupiers of the throne, they were figures that people would look up to for guidance and respectable leadership; to be shepherded by them. And, if anyone knows anything about a good shepherd, they are marked as being selfless caregivers putting the concern of the sheep over their own personal welfare. The kings that were receiving the rebuke from the LORD in Jeremiah were not as these shepherds. They were selfish and worked at tearing the nation down rather than building it up.
In our lesson today, traveling through the pages of history, we see God has His own choice as a King; a Shepherd who will care for His people. But, His throne didn’t come as a life of ease and luxury. He suffered for His reign. He suffered for His people. Today’s lesson hits home about “The Suffering of the King.”
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
As was alluded to in the introduction God was fed up with the behavior and actions of those in authority over His people. In Jeremiah 23:1 (not in our text), He openly reprimanded the leadership by saying, “WOE BE unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD,” (see also Jer. 10:21). God was more than just a little angry with them. “WOE” means that God was superiorly ticked off and was hot in His displeasure towards them.
God’s charge against them, “Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them,” (Jer. 23:2b). God laid out before them how their duties have faltered. They were neglectful leaders that were inattentive to the needs of the people. These types are considered by some to be self-absorbed, self-serving and self-seeking. God doesn’t need leaders that represent heartlessness. He needs leaders that will represent His heart.
God would not let this behavior go unchecked. He said, “I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD,” (Jer. 23:2c).
God then proceeded to talk of His future plan to re-gather His people and to reestablish them once again. This time He would place a very specific King/Shepherd over His people who would properly care for them.
In our text, He said, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch.” This falls in line with the Messianic promises given to “David” that “Thy throne shall be established for ever,” (2 Sam. 7:16; see also Jer. 33:17).
“A righteous Branch.” I love this portion of the prophecy because it really shows how God can see the potential of the promise to come past the disaster of the day. And yes, they were in a disastrous state. In Jeremiah 22, (speaking of doing right and using just judgment) the word that went out from God was “If ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David . . . But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation,” (Jer. 22:4-5).
“A desolation” is where they were headed. Their leadership was in a state of emergency. It was spoken that “thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it,” (Jer. 22:17). As a result, Jehoiakim will be “buried with the burial of an ass,” (Jer. 22:19) and Coniah the son of Jehoiakim’s fate was set. “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah,” (Jer. 22:30).
But, God spoke of better to come; “a righteous Branch.” If you have ever cut back some plants and placed them in water and tend to them, they begin to grow roots and sprout new life to them. This “righteous Branch” is a “sprout,” that comes forth out of that which was thought to be destroyed. This “Branch” has been identified as the Messiah in other portions of Scripture also (see Is. 4:2; 11:1).
In total opposition of the kings that are currently in rule, this “Branch” would be characterized as being “righteous,” which simply means He will do everything right. He is a King that God can trust to do right!
“He shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.” In speaking of “judgment and justice,” these characteristics help support the ministry of the “righteous Branch.” During His ministry, Jesus said, “For judgment I am come into the world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind,” (John 9:39). He also said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son,” (John 5:22). The King God chose to rule will “execute judgment and justice.”
“In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely.” Judah and Israel together are the original 12 tribes of Israel. After disagreement with Solomon’s son Rehoboam, who foolishly listened to the advice of his friends to increase hardness on the people rather than listening to the wise words of the elders, the nation of Israel split in two. Ten tribes to the north were considered Israel while the remaining two in the south are referred to as Judah.
At separate times in history both of these nations fell at the hand of enemies and were taken into captivity: Israel fell to the Assyrians and Judah to the Babylonians. Here, God has a plan to oversee their future security. There was going to be a time of renewal; a time where they “shall be saved” and “shall dwell safely.” God wants a King that will oversee the safety of His people, restore them and save them.
“And this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” He is our “RIGHTEOUSNESS!” Jesus Christ is that King that suffered for mankind that we might be able to stand right before God; justified and freed from our sins. Romans 10:4 supports this by saying, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Zechariah 6:9-15 “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Take of them of the captivity, even Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;
Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest;
And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the LORD.
And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LOR of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”
In the verses we covered in Jeremiah we saw God’s choice as King: referred to as “THE BRANCH.” Here, in Zechariah, we see “The BRANCH” show up again.
Zechariah prophesied to the exiles returning to Jerusalem and spoke of rebuilding the temple. Upon their return, the exiles faced a home in ruins. The war that ended in the people going into captivity left the land and all its buildings desolate and in need of major repair. As with most prophecies, Zechariah’s message had a here and now meaning as well as a “sometime in the future” meaning.
Here and now, instructions were given to pick certain men from the “captivity” to “take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest.” Here we see “the high priest” receiving a “crown” asof a king, which points to the future ministry of Christ.
Take your minds back to a previous lesson titled: “An Everlasting King,” there we see the prophesy from Psalm 110:4 that says, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Here’s what I wrote for that lesson:
“Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” The everlasting King also operates as a “priest.” Traveling back in time a bit to Genesis 14, Abram’s family faced a crisis when Lot was taken captive (vss. 12-14). Abram gathered his men and recovered all his possessions and people (vss. 15-16). After the which, he was met by Melchizedek who was king of Salem, but also served as “the priest of the most high God,” (Gen. 14:18).
The everlasting King in David’s prophecy would be “after the order of Melchizedek.” That word “order” gives the impression of one being in the same style. He would serve not only as King, but He would fulfill priestly duties as well. Speaking of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews said, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession,” (Heb. 4:14).
Our King, Jesus Christ, is also our high priest. Unlike the priests of the Old Testament, our high priest did not enter into the holy place with the blood of goats and calves, rather “by his own blood . . . having obtained eternal redemption for us,” (Heb. 9:12).
In Zechariah’s prophecy we see the symbolism of a priest receiving a crown fit for a king as pointing to the future ministry of the Messiah. This becomes prominent in Zechariah 6:13 where it says, “He shall be a priest upon his throne.” Hebrews 8:1-2 tells us, “We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.”
“The BRANCH,” identified in Isaiah to have messianic connections (see Is. 4:2; 11:1), would be responsible “to build the temple of the LORD.” Most Bible students agree that the “temple” spoken of to be built was a spiritual house and not the physical rebuilding of the temple led by Zerubbabel. As noted in the above paragraph, “The BRANCH” officiates as “A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man,” (Heb. 8:2; see also Hebrews 9:11).
John 19:1-5 “Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.
And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purpose robe,
And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.
Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.
Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!”
Leaving from Zechariah where the high priest received the crown fit for a king and that crown being set up “for a memorial in the temple of the LORD,” we see the fulfiller of those prophesies bearing another type of crown. This crown was not made of silver or gold as the previous crowns; rather, it was one of “thorns.” It was a crown of affliction that showed the suffering of the King.
The Jewish leaders who sought to destroy Jesus in last week’s lesson, initiated their plan and had Him arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. There He went before Annas and Caiaphas, was then denied by Peter, and is now before “Pilate.”
“Pilate,” thinking to appease His accusers, sentenced Jesus to be “scourged.” Scourging was brutal. It was more than just being beaten and whipped. Pieces of metal and bone were attached to the ends of the thongs that would rip at the flesh of the one being punished.
After the mocking of the soldiers (seen also in Matthew 27:27-31), “Pilate” declared that “I find no fault in him.” The Jewish leaders were bent on crucifying Jesus, an innocent man, but even the opposing, sinful authorities couldn’t find one reason of why Jesus should be put to death. There was absolutely no reason for why Jesus was on trial and accused the way He was.
There, He stands, after the horrific affair of scourging, clothed in “purple” wearing His “crown of thorns,” the King was suffering. I can’t imagine where He had the strength to stand before them with His weakened, beaten, bloody frame. Our King would reign and prosper but He would do so by way of suffering. Isaiah once spoke of this time, telling us,
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken,” (Is. 53:7-8).
Bringing Jesus before the crowd, Pilate spoke the words, “Behold, the man.” These same words Zechariah prophesied when speaking of that messianic “Branch.” From the “crown of thorns” to the cross on Calvary, Jesus would fulfill His role as our King and our priest, but it would be at the expense of His own battered, bruised, beaten and dead body.
Jesus, our King and our priest, suffered for us!
Below you will find activities to help support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: The Suffering of the King Draw the Scene
Below you will find even more Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Activities for Kids on Lent and The Crown of Thorns” (Here are some very creative ideas to present our lesson with. Your students can make a cross “suncatcher” or the object lesson goes very well with this lesson. Enjoy!)
“Crown of Thorns/Crown of Glory Craft” (WOW! Talk about a craft that fits this lesson exactly, this one is it. Children can add their own thorns (made of construction paper) to a pre-purchased or printable crown. Enjoy!)
“A Robe, Crown, Cross and Spices Object Lessons” (Here are some very unique and exciting ways to present this lesson. Enjoy!)
“Christ the King” (A lot of interactive group activities here including using toothpicks to make thorns on a paper crown. Enjoy!)
“Make a Paper Crown of Thorns” (Using a brown paper bag. Hmmmm . . . interesting. Enjoy!)
“Printable Cut Out of Easter Pictures Including Crown of Thorns” (Click to check it out. Easy. Affordable. And yes, again, easy!)
“How to Make an Easy (and cheap) Crown of Thorns” (Using playdough and toothpicks. Awesome craft!. Enjoy!)
“The Sanhedrin, Herod and Pilate” (Several activity sheets and a coloring page that compliments this lesson nicely. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Whipped by Roman Soldiers” (Coloring sheet for older students. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Presented to Jewish Officials” (Coloring sheet for older students. Enjoy!)
“Crown Him King” (Activities and coloring sheet. Enjoy!)