(15.) On Christ the King

(15.) On Christ the King

(15.) On Christ the King.

The Hebrew Scriptures are very clear about their appointed leaders… they must be anointed. The roles of prophet, priest and king are these anointed ones, and they find their fulfillment in the Anointed One in the Gospels. This is another example of how Christianity is basically a Jewish religion. The Christian faith finds it roots in the Jewish faith. Jesus was a faithful Jew, and so much of the Jewish Bible finds its fulfillment in the Gospel story. The anointed ones in the Old Testament find their culmination in the Anointed One in the New Testament. Some examples: Elisha is anointed by Elijah to be a prophet; Aaron is anointed by Moses to be a priest; David is anointed by Samuel to be king. And Jesus is anointed by the Father to be Messiah at His baptism. Jesus became the Christ who holds all three offices together, prophet, priest and king, summed up in the one office of Messiah.

“Therefore God exalted Christ Jesus to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9).

It takes two hands to follow Jesus. On the one hand, Christ is our dear companion on the way, our intimate friend through thick and thin. There is nothing wrong with that, of course. We do enjoy a spiritual buddy system, since Jesus Himself called His disciples friends (John 15), and we by extensiuon are now privileged to form a meaningful friendship with Him. But on the other hand, Christ is our King. He has total dominion over the entire universe, including each of us. He reigns as eternal Sovereign over the world, whether or not the world wants to acknowedge His reign. Christ has executive power over all creation. He holds rightful autbhority over each of us, and we need to cooperate with His Kingship if we know what’s good for us. Jesus is not merely our bosom buddy, He is our ultimate authority. There are subtle ways we have a tendency to see Christ as our friend while neglecting His authority. Perhaps we imagine walking arm in arm with Him, to the neglect of bowing the knee at His throne. Perhaps we tend to say in our presumptuous petititons, Gimme, gimme, gimme, rather than humbly asking for the King to grant us something out of the goodness of His heart, out of His unearned favor. Maybe we approach Jesus casually if not flippantly, instead of submitting to Him with reference to His royal highness. Christ is our ruling authority each and every day we seek to follow Him. In fact, He is the ruling authority even if we don’t want to follow Him. The writer of Hebrews perhaps had this in mind, combining Christ’s friendship with His Kingship, by encouraging us… “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16). Living into Christ with both hands, boldly approaching Him as both our accessible friend and our sovereign King.

Christ the King Foretold:

  • “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” (Psalm 2:6);
  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:6-7);
  • “The days are coming,’ declares the  Lord, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6); 
  • “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He appproached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14);
  • “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2);  
  • “He will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.” (Zechariah 6:13); 
  • “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9). 

Christ the King in the Flesh:

  • “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33); 
  • “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem, and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2); 
  • “Then Nathanel declared, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.” (John 1:49); 
  • “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38);
  • “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28); 
  • “Jesus said to Pilate,’My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ ‘You are a king, then?’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king.” (John 18:36-37); 
  • “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (John 19:19);
  • “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” (Matt. 28:18).

Christ the King in the Heavens:

  • “That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:20-23);
  • ‘It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand  with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” (1 Peter 3:22); 
  • “… and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 1:5); 
  • “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” (Rev. 15:3-4); 
  • “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.” (Rev. 17:14); 
  • On his robe and on his thigh he has shown this name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19 16);

Christ the King of Glory:

“Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory!” (Ps. 24:9-10, NASB). 

This messianic psalm celebrates the triumphant return of Jesus to the heavenly realms. The Ascension of the Lord to the royal throne room is a defining moment in the story of salvation and redemption. For Jesus has successfully united heaven and earth. Bodily in the flesh still, He represents humanity at God’s right hand as King-Priest. Jesus has entered heaven’s sanctuary and is now ready to assume His vital role of Divine Intercessor. Yes, Jesus has accomplished His earthly mission… He has conquered sin, death, Satan and Hades! And the angels in the heavenly court rejoice as they lead the song of celebration, welcoming the victorious warrior, mighty in battle. These words in Ps. 24 mark the glorification of Jesus as He enters the true Holy of Holies. Who is the King of glory? Jesus Christ, He is the King of glory! Let us rejoice with the angels in this coronation ceremony as our Lord is crowned King of all creation!

A 5th century painting of the Ascension depicts Christ from the side view, climbing to the top of a hill, and grasping the hand of God which emerges from a cloud above the hill. God’s hand seems to be pulling Jesus into heaven. The Father may not have been content to sit on His throne while waiting for Jesus to make His appearance in heaven. God couldn’t wait. He loved His Son too much to wait! God desired to personally escort Jesus through the gates of heaven. What a glorious vision.