“The Lord is King forever and ever…” Psalm 10:16
It is not enough to think of Jesus as King of the world by virtue of creation. It is crucial to think of Him also as the coming King of God’s People. That has two things that need to be considered: the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of God.
To consider, first of all, the Kingship of God over Israel, we must look back at the Old Testament. Beginning with Exodus, we see God as the King of Israel in opposition to Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Pharaoh has oppressed the Israelites and they have cried out to God. God sends Moses, not to rule over Israel, but to be His spokesman to Pharaoh. The whole showdown is a 15th Century BC equivalent of a showdown between powers.
What Pharaoh does not grasp is that he is not the Superpower in the situation. At the time, Egypt is the power in the Mediterranean region, exerting influence around the area, up the Nile, and as far away as the Iberian Peninsula. He has known no king that can stand up to him. Typically, the ambassador that comes before Pharaoh is there to seek his favor, to request peace and mercy from the great one.
Moses is not that ambassador. He comes, not on his knees to beg, but on his feet to bring a warning. On his feet to deliver a demand. On his feet, representing the King of Israel with a basic statement: let His people go or else. Then, God follows through on the “or else.” He is the King there. In the following centuries, God leads the people of Israel in battle, provides for their needs, corrects their religious failures, and provides human leadership to guide them to Him. In the course of that time, a human line rises to represent Him, but not to supplant Him.
That line is headed by the man David, and his descendants are promised to rule Israel forever. God provides a promise that He will establish David’s throne forever. Yet that promise cannot be fulfilled in merely human terms. That King must be one who will never surrender the throne due to death. There can be no stopping this Kingdom. It is, however, important to recognize that when Jesus came, it was not an empty question that the Magi asked: “Where is the born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2) Jesus is born as King of the Jews, first and foremost.
This is not the limit of His Kingdom, however. Starting with Rahab in Joshua, moving forward through Ruth, and on to the Centurion of Luke, Cornelius in Acts and the whole of the Roman Empire in the years after the Resurrection, the reader of the Bible sees God as King over all those who call upon Him. It is not an empty call in Romans 10 to confess that “Jesus is Lord:” this is a statement affirming His kingship above all. It is a statement of loyalty to Him and His Kingdom.
This Christmas, let us not fail to honor Him as the King. We owe our complete allegiance to Him, our devotion. He is the King of His people. Let us remember that.
Scripture Passage for the Day: Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV)
“Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Hymn for the Day: Come Thou Almighty King, #336
Prayer: God of Israel, You are the King of Your people. May we come together as the people of God and submit to You. You are the King, and You are our King. May we delight ourselves to see honor and praise given to You. May our lives be dedicated and given to the glory of Your Kingdom. May Your will be done on earth and in us as it is in Heaven. Jesus, we pray in Your name, Amen.