Not many care to think of Jesus as King. They’re okay with teacher, guru, or sage. They’re fine to use Jesus as a swear. Many quote Jesus’ sayings. Many like Jesus teachings. But few would care to bow to King Jesus – or even realize the need to. And yet, we’re told, and we see in His deeds, and in His teachings, that He is indeed The King.
The Biblical language we use for Jesus such as Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Savior, Son of David, Son of God – the list goes on – does not ring a bell for us. We don’t understand what “Christ” means. It’s all Greek to us, literally. We hear about personal salvation and forgiveness of sins (and that’s important). But we miss the larger context and absolute incredible claims of Jesus and His identity and His mission.
We miss Jesus’ Kingship even though He often tells us. Here are just a few references…
Jesus walks into a synagogue in his home town of Nazareth and essentially says, “Hey guys, remember that messiah you’ve been waiting for? Check it out.” So he rolls out a scroll of Isaiah and reads,
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Then he says, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” And then he went and did it! He proclaimed the good news, freed the enslaved, healed the blind and more. Not what many expected, but He’s the King.
Another time Jesus says this, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Listen to what He’s saying. He’s saying He saw Satan fall – way back in the beginning. He’s saying He bestows authority. Why? Because he is authority. He’s the King.
Here’s an interesting reference about himself. The religious leaders were claiming Jesus was demon-possesed. Here’s the dialogue from the Gospel of John.
The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
“I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”
At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
“You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
Jesus is saying many things here, but one thing stands out – He’s always been – He’s the great “I Am.” He’s the King. It sounds like crazy talk. Even those who heard it first hand wanted to kill him for saying such things. But this was His teaching.
Remember when he tells the wind and the waves to be quiet? Tim Keller notes that he didn’t roll up his sleeves or call out to God on high. He said, “Quiet! Be Still!” Or, in our vernacular, “Sit down and shut up!” And the storm was calmed to a dead calm. Why didn’t He need to draw on an outside power, like all the others throughout history? He is power. He’s the King.
When we approach Jesus as King, we see the much grander story – and everything changes.
When Christians say Jesus “Christ,” embodied in the word “Christ” is Jesus the King. King of what? King of God’s Kingdom. And what a different Kingdom it is.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson