Summary: Without a proper understanding of Jesus as King we miss one of the most exciting elements of who Jesus is. It's an understanding that can change your life.
“I Stand in Awe”
Malachi 4:1-6; 2 Thess. 1:5-12
Sometimes it is difficult for us to identify with biblical and theological concepts. For example, since we are unfamiliar with the nature and functions of a king, it is hard to get excited about Jesus as King. Yet without a proper understanding of King Jesus, we miss one of the most sober yet exciting elements of who He is – it’s an understanding that can change your life.
Consider THE RULE OF THE KING. Our knowledge of kings and royalty is pretty much limited to the formality and pomp surrounding the royal family in England. While it’s interesting, it fails to give us any insight into Jesus. Such current knowledge falls far short of THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT. In the Bible we learn that kings gained the throne by DIVINE APPOINTMENT. God established a family tree, a line of people, into which all the kings of Israel would be born. To be born into the line of David was to join the line of kingly succession.
Yet the rule of the king was not a mere formality. The King possessed ALL AUTHORITY. His word was law. What the King spoke became reality. There were no legislatures, no congresses, no pollsters – the king spoke and it was. This was only natural because divine appointment meant divine authority – the king was the representative of God.
And this authority also contained ALL POWER. The King could do whatever he desired. If he ordered troops to war, they went. If he wanted to expand his borders, he set out to do so. If he didn’t like his wife, or got tired of her, or became displeased with her, he could do away with her and/or marry another. The king had his way. Just recall David who committed adultery with Bathsheba. He ordered her husband to be killed in battle – and it became reality – because the king had all power.
Now today we proclaim that JESUS IS KING. Why? Because He fits the mold! As we confess in the Creed, “ Jesus was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God.” The Heidelberg Catechism states that from there God rules all things through Jesus. Here’s why. Jesus was not just given the position as king – He EARNED HIS DIVINE APPOINTMENT. Paul wrote (Phil 2:8-9) that because Jesus was obedient unto death, God exalted Him to the highest place. The highest place is the right hand of God. And the right hand of God is the seat of authority and power. In other words, Jesus has ALL AUTHORITY. Matthew records Jesus’ ascension this way (28:17-18): “17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He had conquered death, He had shattered the power of the tomb, He had won the last battle over evil. So God vested all His authority in Jesus.
And with His authority, Jesus also has ALL POWER. According to Paul, ”9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord...” At the name of Jesus – at the mere mention of His name! All authority. All power. All in Jesus. Jesus is King. Jesus rules through divine appointment with all authority and power.
But what is THE ROLE OF THE KING? Remember the words of the Creed? “From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” The role of the king is to use his authority and power to bring about justice. To the Thessalonian Church, Paul wrote (6-7): “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” First, Jesus the King is to ADMINISTER JUSTICE through the arm of divine retribution. ”8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power…” Those who rebel against the king, those who refuse to give up their life of sin, those who ignore the king will be punished. It’s true that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is love and mercy – but do not think for a moment that this means He is not still charged with the administration of justice. “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell…” (Mk. 9:47) “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Lk. 13:3)