They put a staff in [Jesus’] right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.
You are in Windsor, Canada. It is 1902. You are in the stands of a racetrack, waiting for the next race. As you do, you see a horse coming out to the track that makes you wince. You check your program. His name is “Prince Direct.” The Chicago Tribune later describes him as “fat” and “gross.” Worse yet, as he plods his way past you, you notice that he has the most awkward kind of walk you have ever seen. At once, you dismiss him out of hand. So does everyone around you.
And then Prince Direct begins to run. Suddenly he is a horse transformed. The legs underneath him are fast and sure. He blows past every other horse in the race. His performance shocks everyone. In the end, all the crowd can do is cheer. It is a grand case of underestimation.
It is what the soldiers who crucified Jesus did. As they prepared him for the cross, they decided to have some fun. They had heard the claims that he was a king. Their immediate response was mockery. “This man, a king? Look at him. This man is a nothing. Whatever he claims to be is a nothing. And soon this nothing will be dead.”
And so Jesus went to the cross. On the cross, he suffered and died. And three days later, he rose from death. In so doing, he demonstrated that his death had paid for the sins of the world. And that through faith in him, we have forgiveness and life. He is the Son of God and, indeed, the King of kings. It had been a grand case of underestimation.
The next time you feel the temptation to underestimate Jesus, take a deep breath, and give yourself a moment. Remember who he is. Remember what he has done for you. Let it assure you he is able to do anything for you. Let it assure you he will do what is best for you.
Lord Jesus, King of kings, forgive me for all the times I have underestimated you. Help me remember who you are. Amen.