The Lordship of Jesus Christ - banner-Part 10, HE WAS BORN A KING

home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > December 22nd > The Lordship of Jesus Christ – Part 10, He was born a King

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold,
wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews?
For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:2

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.

And assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people,
he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Matthew 2:4

What they told him would have troubled him even more. The prophesied coming king was to be born in the same town that Israel’s greatest king, King David, had been born: Bethlehem. This almost certainly meant that this prophesied coming king was a direct descendant of king David.

And I will set up over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:23

Isaiah had prophesied of this coming messiah and descendant of king David as being established and lasting “forevermore”:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Daniel the prophet foresaw the coming royal messiah as One who would establish His kingdom as “an everlasting kingdom” (Dan. 7:13-14). In king David’s Royal Psalm, the royal messiah is contrasted with mere earthly appointed kings – who often oppressed their people – and is described as one who would have regard for the poor and oppressed:

May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!
Psalm 72:2-4

Thus, the prophesied royal messiah would be a Shepherd-King who cared for people, healed the sick, alleviated poverty, defended the defenceless, and dealt severely with the wickedness of oppressors.

 

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW DEPICTS JESUS AS
THE ‘LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH’

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah,
the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Revelation 5:5

In Genesis 49:9 Jacob prophesied that the true king would arise from the tribe of Judah and be like a lion. Ezekiel the prophet described the guardians of God’s throne as four-faced heavenly beings who reflected the One they served. Each had a face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (Ezek. 1:10). Scholars point out that each of these faces are also thematic of each of the four Gospels. In the Gospel of Luke Jesus is presented as a man. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is presented as a king representing the lion’s face. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus is presented as a burden-bearing worker who ultimately is sacrificed for the sins of the world and represents the face of the ox. In John’s Gospel Jesus is presented as the divine messiah and represents the face of the eagle. Matthew’s Gospel thematically presents Jesus as the king.

The kingship of Jesus is borne out in Matthew’s Gospel by His repeated and most frequent references to the kingdom in His preaching and teaching. In Matthew 13 Jesus tells parables of the kingdom. In Matthew 25 Jesus declares what His kingdom will be like and how it will be culminated. Significantly Jesus commences this address by referring to Himself as the Son (of Man) and then immediately refers to Himself as the king:

¶ “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him,
then He will sit on His glorious throne. Before Him will be gathered all the nations,
and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
And He will place the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.
Then
the King will say to those on His right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 25:31-34

It was long believed that when the promised royal messiah would arrive He would be able to do what His ‘father’ David could do, namely cast out demons (1Sam. 16:23). Thus, when Jesus began casting out demons He was in the minds of the people establishing that He was indeed the promised royal messiah, the son of David.

¶ Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to Him,
and He healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.
And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”
Matthew 12:22-23

The extent of Christ’s kingdom was not merely to geographic territory! His kingdom was comprised of people – and these demons were trespassing on His territory when they possessed people. As the rightful king of those within His territory He had a royal right to evict them! Thus, in His concluding parable of the sheep and goats where He is seated upon His throne and judges the nations, He is declaring that His kingdom is not bounded by the borders of Palestine! The kingdom of Christ is the whole world and everyone in it is expected to comply with His wishes – and He wishes for all people from every nation, tribe and tongue to repent, surrender to Him and receive His royal pardon (Rev. 7:9). The kingdom of Christ can only be entered into via a royal pardon. And once entered into can only be enjoyed when the pardoned pardon those who sin against them!

Pray then like this:“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
¶ For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:9-15

As Christ approached the time of His earthly ascension to His throne of wood constructed by Roman soldiers which was to be installed at Calvary overlooking the once holy city of Jerusalem, He entered the city riding on a donkey accompanied by her colt. Matthew cites the prophet Zechariah when he says:

¶ “Say to the daughter of Zion,‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
Matthew 21:5

Once in Jerusalem, Jesus told several royal themed stories foretelling how His Father had sent Him and how He would be rejected by the proud religious leaders of Jerusalem. These included the parable of the tenants (Matt. 21:33-40), and the story of the King who invited His subjects to celebrate the wedding of his son:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’
But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
Matthew 22:2-10

The deep pathos of Christ as He enters into Jerusalem is poignantly captured by Matthew as describes Jesus’ disgust at the wicked behaviour of the chief priests. Jesus leaves the city precinct and ascends the Mount of Olives where He laments:

¶ “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!
How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Matthew 23:37

Christ’s kingdom was arrogantly rejected by those who claimed to be His subjects by ancestry. But His kingdom, He announced, would be embraced by those who were not physically related to Abraham but were eager to be pardoned by the King!

When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”
They said to Him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the
vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
Matthew 21:40-41

 

PRIOR TO CHRIST’S ASCENSION TO HIS THRONE HE ISSUED A ROYAL COMMISSION

Even the language of Christ’s return to heaven is royal language when He described as ascending (Jn. 20:17). Just prior to His ascensions He makes a royal pronouncement – all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me (Matt. 28:18). The magnitude of this declaration is seismic. The risen, sin and death conquering Jesus is not merely a king over a small slither of the Mediterranean coastline! He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! His disciples are not merely incidental officers in an insignificant domain – they ambassadors of a King and His Kingdom that demands embassy representation in every city, town and village around the world. His ambassadors are now His royal priesthood summoning whosoever to turn to the Pardoning King in full surrender and humbly accept His gracious offer of pardon.

Where is He who was born king of the Jews? asked the Magi. Today we know the answer. He is seated upon His royal throne at the right hand of His Almighty Father.

God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:31

And it is not just to Israel that He gives repentance and forgiveness of sins! His offer of a new life and pardon for sins is available today to whosoever will seek and receive it.

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

THE SHEPHERD IS THE LORD

Of all the 150 Psalms, Psalm 23 is probably the most loved. As we read it we can easily imagine its author, the young shepherd-boy David, making the trek through a ravine where bandits, bears, and predators lurked as he led his small flock of sheep through to fresh water and green pastures. As he reflected on how he led and cared for his flock he must have pondered of how the LORD was like a shepherd to him. As easy as it is for us to imagine teenage David composing this beautiful Psalm, it is also easy to imagine how the God he describes as his shepherd in this Psalm is also a shepherd to us. God, as a shepherd, provides what we need (vs 1), restores our soul (vs 3), when we are unsure He leads on the right path (vs 3), He protects us from evil (vs 4), comforts us in times of distress (vs 4), strengthens us in our moments of weakness (vs 5), He gives us honour when our opponents attempt to bring us shame (vs 5), and He provides a place of belonging for us (vs 6). This is what a shepherd does, David tells us, and it is ultimately only found in the True Shepherd, the Lord Immanuel.