Jesus as King

Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Matthew 27:37)

As a descendant of David with regard to his human nature, Jesus has the lineage and legal right to be a king over Israel.  Matthew’s genealogy in Matthew 1 is concerned to demonstrate that fact.  He is thus able to fulfill the prophecies that predict an eternal kingship for David’s offspring and predict a ruler who will bring Israel back to a place of favor and power with God among all the nations.

This is the kind of king Israel was expecting their Messiah to be.  When Jesus comes announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, anticipations are that the oppressive rule of Rome will be thrown off and Israel will become the power broker in the mid-east.  But Jesus deliberately takes the edge off of that expectation.

In Luke 17 Jesus tells the Pharisees, when they want to know what the cosmic signs will be of the kingdom’s coming, that the kingdom in its present form is in their midst and is known by the lives it changes.  But then he tells his disciples that the future kingdom will come with quite impressive signs, but only after he, the king, first suffers and is rejected by the present generation.  There is a “now” aspect to the kingdom and a “coming” aspect to the kingdom.  Like when one company buys out another but only later begins to change out personnel, so the kingdom of God has come in Jesus the king, but all the expected changes are still in the future.

As king, Jesus requires full obedience and love.  “If you love me,” he told his disciples, “you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).  When we pray, as Jesus taught us, that God’s kingdom would come (Matthew 6:10) we are praying for Jesus to come (Revelation 22:20).  Paul tells us that he will deliver the kingdom over “to God the Father after destroying  every rule and every authority and power, for he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Corinthians 15:24,25).

Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).  There is no one whose authority is above his, except God the Father.  His reign now is made most evident in our obedience.  We are subjects of this loving king who willing give our whole lives over to such a benevolent dictator.


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