Tag Archives: Jesus as king

The Christ, Part 3

‘The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of many things: of shoes and ships – and sealing wax – of cabbages and kings.’ ~Lewis Carroll

Last week the new season of ‘The Crown’ came out on Netflix. The series follows Queen Elizabeth’s reign in Britain. The glamour, the glitz, the war and worry, the ups and downs. She’s had it all.

The modern world views royalty as celebrity. We watch what they wear, who they date, what they name their babies. A royal wedding inspires fashions and photos; a royal death inspires love songs and lullabies.

But historically, being royal was dangerous work. You led the army against the enemies. You fought the dragons and the sea serpents. You laid down your life for your subjects.

A king, a strong king, was the salvation of the country.

Matthew’s gospel announces a king. Matthew begins with the lineage that highlights Jesus’s relation to the throne. Then he tells us that the current king was so fearful of this new king that he tried to assassinate him. Other kings, “wise men”, came to pay homage to this greater king. How did they find this new king? He was announced in the stars- divinely appointed as all true kings are.

When the wise men came they asked, “Where is the king?” John the Baptist announced “the kingdom of heaven is near.” Jesus also preached, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” People questioned whether Jesus could be the “Son of David,” the most notable king of Israel. A little while later, a mother declared that Jesus is the Son of David. And then he came riding into town on a donkey’s colt, the traditional sign of a peaceful king.

In the end, the governor asked if he was the king. Soldiers mockingly called him “King.” And finally, his title was written on the cross above his head. “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

He did exactly what a king is supposed to do.

He laid down his life for his subjects.

Bow before your king.

“Hark the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.”

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
    and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
    and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
    His rule will extend from sea to sea
    and from the River to the ends of the earth. Zechariah 9:9-10 NIV

King of the Hill

When I was little we played King of the Hill. I’m not sure we played it correctly. It was basically a fight to see who could push or pull most successfully. One person would stand on top of something: a hay bale, a trailer bed, a pile of rocks, and send out a challenge, “I’m king of the hill!” crown

Suddenly everyone was racing to push the self-appointed king from his or her perch. Whoever was successful at dethroning the king then laid claim to the spot, only to be duly removed by the next pusher in line. It usually ended with someone hurt.

Some of the saddest words recorded in scripture are those of the chief priests, “We have no king but Caesar!” Unwilling to allow Jesus the spotlight, the priests pulled him down and pushed Caesar onto the throne. They couldn’t recognize Jesus as king in a world where power and wealth ruled.

Pilate saw no threat when he looked at Jesus. The man of humility was definitely not a threat to Pilate’s princely claims. Known for teaching and healing the sick, Jesus didn’t look capable of claiming kingship. Still Pilate allowed the chief priests to completely remove Jesus as competition.

He was scourged, taunted, ridiculed, and tortured. He carried his own cross up the Via Dolorosa. And there, at the top of the hill, he began his ascent to the throne.

In what areas of your life are you claiming “no king but Caesar”?

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.” John 19:15 ESV