Summary: Has There Ever Been A King As Awesome As Christ? 1) Look at what he rules. 2) Look at how he rules.
Seven years ago, King Jigme of Bhutan, a mountainous country sandwiched between China and India, announced that he was giving up absolute power in favor of a constitutional monarchy headed by his son, the crown prince. The nation was stunned. People openly wept and begged their monarch to reconsider giving up power. Have you ever heard of such love and loyalty for an absolute ruler? The late dictator of Libya, Muammar Gadhafi, claimed to hold that level of respect but recent events proved otherwise when Gadhafi was slain by his own people. I’m not sure what made King Jigme such an awesome king in the eyes of his people. Perhaps it had something to do with the National Happiness Index he came up with to help ensure that the people of Bhutan were indeed happy.
You’re not citizens of Bhutan but you are ruled by a king, Christ the King. How does King Jesus compare to King Jigme? There is, of course, no comparison. Indeed has there ever been a king as awesome as Christ? We’ll answer that question with a resounding “No!” when we look at what Christ rules, and how he rules.
We may confess that Christ is an awesome king but he didn’t look very awe-inspiring in our Gospel Lesson (Matthew 27) did he? Roman soldiers mocked Jesus’ claims of kingship and instead of a crown of gold they gave him a crown of thorns, beating it down on his head with a rough staff they claimed was his sceptre. The soldiers manhandled Jesus until they killed him on a cross. “So much for that king,” they must have thought. But just when everything seemed to be said and done there was an earthquake so violent it split rocks and opened tombs from which the dead came walking, not tumbling out like dislodged firewood. This was but a preview of what would happen three days later when Jesus himself walked out of his tomb very much alive.
Roman emperors may have conquered much of the known-world in Jesus’ day and therefore seemed so much more impressive to the soldiers than Jesus did on Good Friday. But no emperor, nor any other king in the history of the world has been able to conqueror death. Jesus did. That’s one reason Christ the King is so awesome. He rules over death, or should I say, he overrules death! Doesn’t it give you calm to know that even though the doctor may announce that there is no hope for survival, King Jesus has already given you a second opinion? Through faith in him you will survive cancer or that life-ending car accident. You won’t just survive but come out better because you will be in heaven with Christ waiting patiently for your soul to be reunited with your body that Christ will raise from the dead and glorify.
It’s no wonder our text invites: “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. 2 How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!... 8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:1, 2, 8). King Christ not only rules over death, he rules over the whole earth – even over rogue nations like North Korea. He’s in charge of chaotic places like Somalia. Let them rage and threaten world peace. Jesus has us covered.
It’s comforting to know that Christ the King rules over all but let’s not forget that this means that he rules over our lives too. No, we are not the master of the house. Jesus is. We don’t have the final say on what to do with our body or our free time. Jesus does. This is why verse three of our text literally says that Lord most high is to be feared. So why did you carelessly talk back to your parents and grumble about having to pile into the cold car to come here? And what about us parents? Don’t we show a lack of fear for Christ the King when we lash out at our children in the name of discipline when we’re really just angry at them for not doing what we want, when we want as if they are our servants? But they’re not servants. These children are gifts the King has entrusted to us. Instruct them with great patience, and yes, discipline when appropriate but not out of anger because you feel personally slighted by something your child has done.
Although our text says that we are to fear the Lord most high we shouldn’t walk away with the idea that this king is some sort of tyrant. He’s not. Listen to how this king rules. “He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet. 4 He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved” (Psalm 47:3b, 4).