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Summary: Satan is a pretender to the throne. Jesus Christ is the true King of kings and Lord of lords.

“KING OF KINGS”

MATTHEW 21:1-17

OPEN

Last week, we completed our series Angels and Demons. We looked at how God created the angels and how one angel named Lucifer rebelled against God and led one-third of the angels in revolt. They were defeated by God’s angels and cast down to earth. Lucifer is now known as Satan or the devil and his angels are now called demons.

In last week’s message, we also learned that Satan’s desire in rebellion was to take over the throne of God but that he is only a pretender to the throne. Today, I want us to take a look at the true King – the King of kings – Jesus Christ himself.

Rev. 19:11-16 – I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Did you know the United States once had an emperor? Believe it or not, it’s true – at least, it was in the rather confused mind of Joshua A. Norton.

Norton lived in San Francisco during the gold-rush days of the 1800’s. He was a colorful character, to say the least. When speculation in the rice market brought him to financial ruin, something happened to Norton’s mind. He declared himself “Emperor of These United States.” It might have been a practical joke, or it might have been the result of a clouded mind.

Whatever the initial reason, Norton’s pretending soon grew into a delusion. In 1859 he published a proclamation that he was emperor according to an act of the California legislature. He found a sword, stuck a plume in his hat, found a cape, and marched the streets in colorful costume.

The citizens of San Francisco were amused by this ploy and so played the game with him. They gave him recognition with free tickets to special events. He was invited to gala opening nights. In fact, they allowed him to collect a small tax and issue his own currency. It was all done in the spirit of fun. But to Norton it was serious business. In fact, he expanded his authority to “Emperor of These United States and Protector of Mexico.”

When he died in 1880, more than ten thousand curious people attended Norton’s funeral service – one of the largest funerals ever to take place in California. He lived and died in his own delusion of grandeur. He didn't hurt anyone; in fact, he brought a bit of a smile and a chuckle to people who came across his path.

But make no mistake about it. Joshua A. Norton was never really the emperor. Had he really insisted on a confrontation with the United States government, he would have been disposed of rather quickly. More than likely, he would have been confined to an insane asylum for the rest of his life.

Imagine the poor soul who enters eternity convinced that life was all about him or that she was the focus of the universe. That’s what Satan did. 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. Palm branches were symbols of victory and freedom to the Jewish people. It was a public declaration that they were looking to Jesus to free them from Roman rule and re-establish the sovereign nation of Israel. 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.

Mt. 21:1-17 – As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 5 “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

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