NO KING BUT CAESAR? (JN 19, PS 34)
They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Sin is on display here in its unrestrained power. The Jews had the highest honor, because they had God, Yahweh, the LORD, as their King. Even in oppression they are able to endure because of the King they looked to and trusted in. He had shown them grace and mercy over and over, given them their daily provisions, taught them what it looked like to live a life honoring to the God of the universe. And yet, here is the pinnacle of their rebellion and rejection of their true King.
The Jews are not only calling for the crucifixion of their Messiah King. They are willingly pledging allegiance to Caesar and the Roman government, who they were being oppressed by and desiring to be set free from. Remember that the general Messianic expectation was a coming warrior king who would overthrow the Roman government and set the Jews free. Now, overcome with sinful terror, they reject the one they were in desperate need of and submit to the one who saw them as nothing but disposable subjects.
The power of sin is consuming the Jews to seek the death of one who had done nothing to elicit anger or rejection. It is the pure righteousness of Jesus that confronted them, and bred more and more sin - jealousy, hatred, anger, lust for death, and so on. And yet, God in his sovereign plan utilized their evil for the good of the world, bringing forth salvation through the suffering Son. The sinless one bore the wrath of God against sin on the cross, paid the death price of sin, and broke the bond of sin through his conquering resurrection. The sins of the Jews led to the freedom from the bondage of sin for those who would believe.