Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, the king wrestles with the burden being the king, “How many thousands of my poorest subjects are a this hour asleep...Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!”   How true that statement seems to be as I look upon the closest thing we have here in the United States to a king.  Just look at a photo of the Presidents of the U.S. who enter into office and then look at a photo when they leave the office of President at the end of their term.  There almost always seems to be this incredible aging process that takes place and I would imagine that it comes with the position of being a person of great power who is burdened with great responsibility.
Greg Gilbert, in his book, “Who is Jesus”, writes, “I think you could say there’s another kind of person who’s head lies even more uneasily than a king’s—and that’s the man who claims to be a king when nobody else recognizes it”.  This in so many ways was the life of Jesus.  From the time of His birth to this very day, the belief that Jesus is the King of all kings as the Bible proclaims is a statement that has been doubted and discounted through the ages.  But in looking in the Bible you find that much was made over a would-be “poser” and “fraud” to the throne.
If we look to Jesus’ birth—before He was even able to speak on His own behalf to this claim of being the “King” we see the stir that was caused.
Matthew 2:1–2 (HCSB)
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 
The claim made is not from the mouth of Jesus or even His earthly parents, but of those who were hundreds of miles away and had nothing to gain from their statements.  For them they weren’t going to see Jesus; they were going to see the King; the One who the prophets Isaiah (9:1-7) and Micah (5:2) foretold.  Now how these wise men knew that this Jesus would be “The King”, I do not know, but in hindsight and seeing Jesus life from beginning to end through the Bible—what I can say is that they, without doubt or question, were right.
And maybe the act that started it all after the wise men had arrived was an act of fear from the current king at the time who was Herod.  It was a fear of this baby who was being heralded as the “King of the Jews” that caused Herod to make a royal decree, throughout the land, that all males two years and under be massacred.  Little did Herod know that he was only fulfilling the words of the prophet Jeremiah (31:15) that only gave evidence and proof of—THE ONE, THE ONLY, JESUS who truly is THE KING OF KINGS.
Now Jesus birth was an incredible moment in History, For the Church it is one of the most important and notable events, since all around the world most recognize this day as the celebration Jesus’ birth—“Christmas”.   As well, there is another of these important days in the life of the Church; it is the baptism of Jesus—which we could say was his coronation (act or ceremony of crowning a sovereign).  From this point on Jesus would begin His public ministry and do so many things that were more than just “good” they were “godly”—of God.  In the period of three years, we have recorded in the gospels almost 40 miracles performed by Jesus Himself.  Things such as turning water into wine in John 2:1, Raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead in Matthew 9:23, healing a demon possessed man in the synagogue in Mark 1:23, healing an official’s son in John 4:46 and raising His dear friend Lazarus from the dead in Luke 11:38.
But before the first of these many miracles was performed there was the moment when John saw this figure coming to him as he was baptizing disciples in the Jordan River at Bethany.
John 1:29–31 (HCSB)
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! [The great burden of the king ]30 This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ 31 I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel.” 
It was at this occasion that we see a continuation of what the wise men did some thirty years before.  As they came to recognize the Kingship of Jesus, so did God the Father as we have recorded in the gospels of Matthew (3:17) and Mark (1:11).
Matthew 3:16–17 (HCSB)
16 After Jesus was baptized, He went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on Him. 17 And there came a voice from heaven:
This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him! [In whom I am well pleased]
At this moment, Jesus’ public ministry would begin and so would all the things that would solidify Him as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” and rightful heir to the throne not only of the Jews, but off all mankind, as “King of Kings”.
With all that Jesus did to give proof of who He was and is,  we must remember with all that did that we have recorded in the Gospels, there is so much more that we do not have, that continued to give proof to those around Him that He was and is—THE ONE, THE ONLY, JESUS who truly is THE KING OF KINGS.  For it is at the conclusion of the gospel that bears his name that John writes,
John 21:24–25 (HCSB)
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written.

In the Hallelujah Chorus, part of the oratorio “Messiah” written in 1741, which is to this day George Frideric Handel's best-known piece and in it we find these words,
The kingdom of this world Is become the kingdom of our Lord, And of His Christ, and of His Christ; And He shall reign for ever and ever, For ever and ever, forever and ever,
At the end of His life, Jesus’ was ushered not as a king, but a criminal to a hill in Jerusalem where He would not take a seat on the throne, but a place on the Cross.  After all that Jesus had done for the good of man and the glory of God, He found Himself nailed to a wooden cross—not being handed a scepter to rule, but rather a branch of hyssop to tend to His suffering and wounds because of crimes He did not commit. 

This, by all earthly standards, was not the King for who the people of Israel had hoped.  This was not the kind of king they laid palm branches before with the herald of “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” and because of that there were few who remained with Jesus at the time of His death there at Calvary.  But, again, what we know in hindsight gives evidence that this act in history proves to be the crowning jewel of Christianity.  This jewel is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is as Jesus declared in the gospel of John that He came and died—so that the world might be saved and that those who believe in Him will be saved through Him—because we have believed in THE ONE, THE ONLY, JESUS.  Yes, Jesus died, but on the third day, just as He promised, He was raised from the dead.
John 2:18–22 (HCSB)
18 So the Jews replied to Him, “What sign of authority will You show us for doing these things?”
19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this sanctuary, and I will raise it up in three days.”
20 Therefore the Jews said, “This sanctuary took 46 years to build, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking about the sanctuary of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this. And they believed the Scripture and the statement Jesus had made. 
It was upon this statement that the Church then and the Church today stands.  This truth is the very sermon that Peter preached at Pentecost where 3,000 came to faith in Jesus Christ in the period of one day.
Acts 2:22–24 (HCSB)
22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. 24 God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.

Acts 2:32–33 (HCSB)
32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear.

What we know from Scripture is that not only was Jesus raised from the dead, but that He rules with the Father in heaven and one day He will return again, not as a baby, or even a suffering Savior;  Jesus will return as a King coming to defeat the enemy and claim His prize.

Revelation 19:11–16 (HCSB)

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. 13 He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God. 14 The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. 15 A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. 16 And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh:

In the words of George Frideric Handel from the Messiah:
Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!


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