Summary: Following Jesus means we recognize the royal nature of the one we serve. Yes, he has saved us. Yes, he loves us and wants us in his royal family. But yes, he is King of Kings, and we owe him our very lives. There is no other appropriate response.
Imagine the poor soul who enters eternity convinced that life was all about him, that she was the focus of the universe. What a shock to find that the Bible’s title for Jesus is accurate. He is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and no pretend emperor will ever take his place.
There was a day when Jesus looked something like an earthly king. The crowds welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem with practices reserved only for royalty. They spread their cloaks on the ground, and waved politically-charged palm branches in the air. They sang songs of praise to Jesus as he majestically entered the city, and they had full expectations that political and military change was only a miracle away. We might not recognize the palm branch as a political symbol, but the Middle East certainly does. Today, modern Israeli currency posts a palm branch on … Read Matthew 21:6-16.
1. Fix your eyes upon the King of Kings, and not on yourself.
Steve Brown tells the frustrating story of some British social scientists. Following the end of British rule in India in the 1940's, a group of researchers wanted to study the impact of the end of British rule on the life of the nation. After six months, the British social scientists gave up, and went home. Though the British had been present in India since the 1600’s, many people in the villages of the country were not aware that the British had ever been there! Could it be that God himself has visited the world and people have lived and died without ever being aware of the event? We live in a world where the King has come but millions are totally unaware that He is present. (Brown is Professor of Preaching at Reformed Seminary, Orlando, FL)
The people singing Hosannas to Jesus knew they had their man. They welcomed Jesus like a rising military or political figure, and offered him their adoration. But when people were asked who Jesus was, they missed the mark. “He is a prophet from Nazareth,” they said. They were literally walking with the Son of God who had come to save the world, but they weren’t even aware of it.
Illustration: If George W. Bush comes to your community in the next few weeks, and you get a chance to introduce him, don’t introduce him as a former baseball team owner. Don’t stop with the introduction after you’ve mentioned his college days at Yale. If you somehow forget that your speaker is President of the United States, you’ll never introduce another person as long as you live. Your own mother would scold you for forgetting the most important information. But if President Bush comes to town, there won’t be any mistaking that he’s arrived. With all the security, and with the news media coverage, it would be incredibly difficult to forget the main point during your introduction.
The Son of God arrived for the climactic event of all history, and people got the introduction all wrong. Why? They had their eyes fixed on themselves, and not on Jesus. Some were tired of being ruled by the Romans, and Jesus appeared to be their ticket out of the occupation. Some were tired of a disability, or a disease. They saw Jesus as a miracle-working machine who would make life easier. Some were hungry, and they’d heard that Jesus could stretch food to miraculous proportions. Very few of the people coming down the mountain that day had any idea that God was working His greatest act of love right in front of their eyes.