1 Kings 1.32-40
Psalm 21 (BCP)
1 Peter 2.13-22
When the King stepped out onto the scaffold, dressed simply in his two white shirts, he was quite calm until he saw the heavy staples and iron rings driven into the platform. These had been installed to make it possible to tie down the King if he resisted the officers. The King bridled because it had simply never occurred to him that he might rage and fight against what he understood as judicial murder.
Nevertheless, with his typical gentle wit, the King confidently addressed the crowd on his faith in the resurrection. He said,
I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown.
For Christians death is of course no disaster, and the King was right to speak of our hope in Christ. But then he goes much further; the King speaks on the scaffold to offer himself. He had come that day to give his life, not to have it taken from him. And so he says,
I am the martyr of the people.
What is happening here, and why is this statement of the King so important as a permanent witness to Christ in the life of our nation? To grasp this, we must begin somewhere very different.