A Voice in the
"Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him...according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God. Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more terrified...Do You not know that I have authority to crucify You, and authority to release You? Jesus answered, You could have no authority at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. ("..the authorities that exist are ordained by God.." Rom13:1) And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross...JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS...Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, Do not write, The King of the Jews, but, He said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written." (~vs1-22)
Jesus posed a question to His detractors, "And He said to them, How do they say that the Christ is the Son of David? Now David himself said in the Book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. Therefore David calls Him Lord; how is He then his Son?" (Lk20:41-44, Ps110:1)
This question addresses two things about Jesus: 1) That He was Jewish, and 2) that He was Deity. Being the "Son of David" meant being heir to David's 'throne' as ruler of Israel. Of the One called, "Wonderful, Counselor, The Strong and Mighty God, The Eternal Father, The Prince of Peace" Israel also knew the rest of that prophecy, "Of the increase of His government and peace upon the throne of David there will be no end; and upon His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever." (Is9:6-7) They knew from Isaiah the prophet that Messiah would be both "God" and "King of Israel".
So, when Jesus was on earth...
God the Father, whom Israel knew by the name, "Jehovah/Yahweh" (Is42:8), proclaimed Jesus to be "..My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mt3:17) and exhorted, "Hear Him!" (Mt17:5)
John the immerser, who came preparing the "way of the Lord" (Mt3:3) proclaimed "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (Jn1:29)
Jesus came, proclaiming Himself to be the Son of God: "..before Abraham came to be, I AM.." (Jn8:58) When the mob came to arrest Him, and they answered that they were looking for "Jesus of Nazareth", He answered "I AM" and threw them to the ground with the Word of His name. (Jn18:6)
As those possessed by demons came bowing to Him, they would cry out, "You are the Christ, the Son of God!" (Lk4:41) "..have You come to torment us before the time?" (Mt8:29) Perhaps helping the unbelieving to understand why the demons might "shudder" (Jac2:19)
At the leading of the Holy Spirit, Peter confessed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Mt16:16)
Pilate, the one to whom God had given "authority..from above" as a ruler, proclaimed officially, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews". For Pilate to place that label upon Jesus essentially placed the weight of the entire Roman Empire behind the label. Pilate represented the Roman Empire in that part of Israel of that day. That's like when Colin Powell or Donald Rumsfeld make statements, the whole world listens; every bit as much as if President Bush makes a statement. In other words, the government of the world's ruling empire of that day proclaimed Jesus to be the "King of the Jews". He did not do this lightly. He questioned Jesus at length, "Are You the King of the Jews?" (8:33) "You say it" (Lk23:3)
And as the events of the day unfolded further with the visit from some celestial body that blocked the sun's light, causing earthquakes, and when the Centurion on the scene (compared today, perhaps, to General Tommy Franks?) saw how Jesus cried out "It has been finished!" (vs30) and then said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Lk23:46) as He 'gave' His life; he exclaims, "Truly this was a righteous Man!" (Lk23:47) "Truly this was the Son of God!" (Mt27:54)
When the high priest asks Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" and Jesus replies, "I AM", they tear their clothes and exclaim, "You have heard the blasphemy!" and condemn Him to be "worthy of death". (Mk14:61-64)
The mobs of (Jewish) people barely a few days prior had been yelling out, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Mt21:9) But with not much effort now were persuaded to cry out, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Lk23:21) "..His blood be on us and on our children." (Mt27:25) But, Oh my! How history has shown how that request was granted upon their children through the pograms and holocaust, etc..!
God sent His Son (Jn3:16) and Jesus "came to His own" (Israel); and while everybody else in the whole world recognized who He was, "..His own did not receive Him." (1:11) Thus, Jesus pronounced "Woe!" upon them. The people of Nineveh, who, even though they were Gentiles, but had repented at Jonah's preaching, would condemn Israel in the judgement. (Mt12:41) Tyre and Sidon, also, would have repented if they had been preached to. (Mt11:21) (Might it not make for an interesting study to learn 'why' they were not preached to. Israel was supposed to be God's light shining in an otherwise depraved world, not all that far away from Tyre and Sidon.)
The demons bowed to Jesus, trembling. The Cannanite woman came bowing to Jesus, asking for "crumbs" from the children's table. (Mt15) Strangers from the east worshiped Him as a child. (Mt2) Rome's representative honored Him with His correct title at His crucifixion. But His own, whom He had redeemed out of Egypt, rejected Him. Jerusalem, the place where God had said He would put His name in the midst of the earth (1Ki11:36), when God sent His Son, they were of such a heart of rejection that Jesus weeps over it, saying, ".. If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes...because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Lk19:41-44)
Israel at Jesus' first coming did not recognize Him. Many throughout the world now do not honor Him. The demons, although knowing Him, have rejected Him and rebelled as a permanent condition. And yet, because of Jesus' humbling of Himself to die on the cross, the Father has now raised Him to a special place of honor, such that...EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW. The demons already confess Him to be Lord, but on That Day, everyone else will, also "..confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php2:9-11)
Now, there is a certain element that has taken passages like this one, and proclaim a false doctrine called "Ultimate Restorationism". They misappropriate Peter's words about the "restoration of all things" (Ac3:21), and claim that this "every" knee bowing means that 'all' will ultimately be "restored" to fellowship with God through redemption. Apparently they have missed how the judgment of the unsaved is "forever and ever" (Rev14:11); and how during the kingdom when Messiah reigns, this earth will be "restored" (fixed) again, as described in places like Is11:7 & 65:25 how the enmity between wild animals will be pacified as the "lion shall eat straw like the ox" as the world will no longer be in "groans and travails" (Rom8:22) as is the case now due to the curse of sin.
Notice carefully that it says that every tongue will "confess -THAT- Jesus Christ is Lord". (Php2:11) It does not say they are repenting of their sin, which is the cause for judgment (Mt11:20, Rev9:20-21,16:9,11) and "receiving" Christ. The demons confess that Jesus is the Christ, but they are "reserved for judgment". (2Pet2:4) And any of mankind who refuses to repent also partakes in the Lake of Fire which was originally designed for the "devil and his angels" (Mt25:41, Rev12:9, 20:15)
They may go all the way to their grave denying God and His Son Jesus Christ. But a day of reckoning is coming. There are two kinds of bowing: The kind done willingly in reverence, and the kind forced upon the rebel. When a rebel is forced to bow, such a bowing does not indicate a repentant heart, but indicates his forced acknowledgment of who is 'higher' compared to himself. Before the rebels are cast into the Lake of Fire, they will have bowed to Jesus Christ; and they will have 'confessed' (acknowledged) that He is Lord.
Not everyone who says (and sings) "Lord, Lord" is getting into Heaven. Just because someone confesses that "Jesus is Lord" does not guarantee that they are saved Believers. Just because people swoon the words of God being "an awesome God" does not mean they have fellowship with Him; because -every- created being -will- make this confession. A "few" will confess it in the glories of God's presence. But the "many" will do so just before they are hurled into "destruction". (Mt7:13-14, 21-23)
The Scriptures are written to reveal God to mankind; along with His Son Jesus Christ. The time to believe in Christ as God's Son is 'now', before -that- Day, the Day of Judgment: "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2Cor6:2)
Just as Isaiah in the O.T. is dedicated to revealing the Father to mankind, in a similar way this Gospel of John is dedicated to revealing God's Son, Jesus Christ.
John says of his writing, "And he who has seen has borne witness, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he speaks the truth, so that you may believe." (vs35) "..these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (20:31)