‘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.