Let me present you with a portion of the speech John Ashcroft gave at Bob Jones University back in 1999. Ashcroft said: “A slogan of the American revolution which was so distressing to the emissaries of the king that it was found in correspondence sent back to England, was the line, "We have no king but Jesus". Tax collectors came, asking for that which belonged to the king, and colonists frequently said, "We have no king but Jesus". … Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different. We have no king but Jesus.
My mind thinking about that once raced back a couple of thousand years when Pilate stepped before the people in Jerusalem and said, "Whom would ye that I release unto you? Barabas? Or Jesus, which is called the Christ?" And when they said "Barabas," he said, "But what about Jesus? King of the Jews?" And the outcry was, "We have no king but Caesar".
There's a difference between a culture that has no king but Caesar, no standard but the civil authority, and a culture that has no king but Jesus, no standard but the eternal authority. When you have no king but Caesar, you release Barabas -- criminality, destruction, thievery, the lowest and least. When you have no king but Jesus, you release the eternal, you release the highest and best, you release virtue, you release potential.” (John Ashcroft's remarks at Bob Jones University's commencement on May 8, 1999)
I am not endorsing John Ashcroft, but I am in full agreement with his position that Jesus is King. Unfortunately, the belief that Jesus is King of King and Lord of Lords does not dominate American Christendom today. Most people, who call themselves a Christian, are willing to view Jesus as: a babe in a manger; a dynamic teacher or even miracle worker; and perhaps some can even view Jesus as a suffering savior. But, very few can honestly say they see Jesus as a physically resurrected ruler, sitting on the throne of the universe, who reigns as Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
THE BIRTH OF A KING
One of the problems modern Americans are faced with is the fact that we have never experienced what a king really is. We cannot really envision what it is like to live under a ruling monarch; to be subject to the absolute authority, power and dominion of a single individual with supreme power. And, that is exactly what a king is: the person who rules or controls every aspect of a country and its people. A King is precisely what many people, who call themselves a Christian, just cannot seem to see in Jesus.
At the time when the Old and New Testaments were written, people understood what a king was and, for the most part, they actually expected to be ruled by a king. In fact, one might say that the entire Holy Bible points to the promise that mankind will one day be ruled by a benevolent king. Scripture refers to this benevolent king as the Messiah. In Jewish messianic tradition the messiah refers to a leader who has been anointed by God to be the ‘End of Days’ King of Israel and King of the entire world. Jesus Christ is that Messiah! Jesus Christ is therefore an absolute monarch who holds final and complete authority over the universe.
The rule of Jesus cannot be compared to any earthly form of Government. After all, no earthly government has ever survived the ravages of time and Satan’s influence. Even that esteemed form of government, called democracy, is becoming nothing more than the haggard prostitute of elitist pimps; her services satisfying the deranged and those who cannot imagine anything better. Think about it, democracy, as well as all other human governing institutions, is nothing more than a very imperfect system created in the arrogance and incompetency of man’s mind. The Kingdom of God, however, was not created in the mind of man.
When we look into the manager and see the Baby Jesus we need to see the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The author of Hebrews wrote: “And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end."” (Hebrews 1:10-12)
Jesus created this universe and all that is in it; one day Jesus will do away with the old system and create a new universe where He will rule forever. Therefore, Jesus was our ruler, He is our ruler and He will always be our ruler. If we claim to worship and serve Jesus but cannot accept this fact then we are liars and the truth is not in us. There is no profit in wanting Jesus as a great spiritual teacher, but having no desire to bow to His authority as an absolute monarch: no matter how benevolent he is. It is totally folly to acknowledge the existence of Jesus but deny His deity; to see a savior in the manger but not see the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
A very brief journey through scripture will highlight six essential truths about the Kingdom of God and who rules that Kingdom. We will see that salvation is simply something Jesus did, but it is not who He is. Jesus is our King: who created us, loves us, taught us, saved us and now rules us.
1. A King Was Prophesied. There are a number of prophesies that mention the fact Jesus would be King
• Jeremiah 23:5-6 “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
• Zechariah 14:9 “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”
• Daniel 7:14 “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
2. A King Was Born. The birth of Jesus was not the birth of some special child: Jesus was God incarnate, the Messiah.
• Luke 1:26-35) God sent the angel Gabriel to explain to Mary about the child she would give birth to. Gabriel said: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
3. A King Established His Kingdom. The New Testament repeatedly portrays Jesus as King. Matthew refers to Jesus as king 14 times, Mark refers to Him as king 6 times, Luke refers to Him as king 5 times, and John refers to Him as king 14 times.
• Matthew 16:18-19 “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
• Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, …
4. Jesus’ Kingdom is Spiritual. The initial Kingdom established by Jesus was the spiritual Kingdom entered by those who are saved: by those who are born again.
• Luke 17:20-21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
• John 3:3, 5-6 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
5. A King Now Rules. The Old Testament and the life of Jesus here on earth were all a prelude to Jesus establishing His role as eternal King.
• Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says, "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
• Acts 2:29-36 In Peters sermon at Pentecost he affirmed that Jesus had been raised from the dead to sit on David's throne. Peter went on to explain that Jesus is at the right hand of God and that He is exalted.
6. Jesus’ Kingdom Will One Day Be Over a New Universe – the current universe in made of perishable material but when Jesus sets up His new universe it will be imperishable and eternal.
• Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."
• Matthew 25:31-46 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.
As time has progressed in our lives, my wife Ernestine and I have noticed how the number of nativity scenes appearing in front of churches and on people’s lawns has steadily declined. America, a nation where our forefathers declared that: “We have no King but Jesus,” has become a nation that can barely acknowledge the birth of Baby Jesus, let alone bow to Him as King. The simple truth, however, is that Jesus is King; and, it does not matter what the people want: God’s plan is God’s plan. Scripture clearly establishes five key facts about Jesus as King:
1. God planned to restore a fallen mankind to His Kingdom authority;
2. God sent Jesus to earth to establish the spiritual Kingdom of God;
3. Jesus is now ruling the spiritual Kingdom of God;
4. Entrance into the Kingdom is only through King Jesus;
5. Jesus will return and create the eternal Kingdom of God; and
6. Jesus will rule the Kingdom of God forever.
It is a tragedy that the bulk of Christendom just cannot seem to accept a salvation, which is only found in the Monarch of the Kingdom of God. People want a universal, watered down version of salvation, which requires nothing on their part. The idea of a great spiritual teacher or even a savior is fine; just as long as Jesus is not given Lordship and authority over the lives of those who claim to love and know Him.
This is the time of the year when we enjoy remembering God’s love and His greatest gift to mankind: Jesus. What we must never do is consider the birth of Jesus as only being the birth of a gentle loving teacher and savior. We must remember that the baby in the manager was born the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. To think of the Baby Jesus as anything less than the supreme monarch of the universe is an attack on the deity of Jesus.