Summary: In St. John’s Revelation, the apostle gives us a glimpse of Christ the King on this last Sunday of the Church Year. The King Comes 1. With Allies, 2. Bestowing Titles, 3. Ready to Judge
Christ the King
Not too many days ago, the President of the United States flew into Orlando to pay us a visit. I wasn’t following the news close enough to know exactly why he was here, I’m sure many of you have a better idea than I do, I just knew that he was in town. Did any of you see him? Bump into him during the course of your day? Probably not. But what if…what if he had planned on visiting that place where you worked or went to school. How much different would your day have been knowing that the President and his entourage was going to be visiting? If he were going to be visiting that place where you work, I guarantee that you and all of your co-workers, no matter what their politics were, would have been working just a little harder, making your business looking just a little bit nicer for the Prez. Or you who are in school. If President Bush had been planning to visit your classroom with the chance that you’d be on TV, maybe you would have spent an extra 5 minutes making sure that your appearance was nice that day. Your teachers probably would have encouraged you to be on your best behavior. Or let’s suppose that you found out right now that he was going to stay overnight at your house this evening. You might get up and leave right now, thinking about all the things you’d need to do to prepare for that visit. Yes, I’m sure for all of us, our days would have been quite a bit different if we had known that we were going to see that President that day.
But you know, one day you will see a supreme ruler. One day, I promise you, you will come face to face with a king. With the very eyes you are using to look at me, you will see the being that rules the entire universe and then some, Jesus Christ, our King. Today, on Christ the King Sunday, we will learn how the Triune God has made us Ready For The Redeemer’s Regal Arrival. There is a King that is coming. This King Comes United with Mighty Allies. This King Comes Bestowing Positions of Honor. This King Comes As Supreme Judge of All Mankind.
What do you need to be a king? I mean, if you were in college and trying to decide what occupation you were going to have, and you mentioned to your guidance counselor, “hey, a king sounds like a good thing to be,” what would you need to become a king? You’d need at least two things: subjects and power over those people.
When Jesus walked this earth, he really didn’t appear to have too much of either. In fact, he really looked like a loner. Yes, he had a dozen fairly faithful followers, and yes, he showed that he had power over diseases and demons and death. But Jesus sure didn’t seem to have what it takes to be a powerful king here on earth. When he needed them most, his followers deserted him in the Garden during his arrest. He never used his divine power for his own benefit. And didn’t Jesus look utterly alone as he hung on the cross, while most of his disciples were cowering in fear for their lives while a distraught Jesus cried out, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?” All Alone! No longer was Jesus God’s Son, whom he loved, with him was the Father well pleased. Instead, the Father saw the Son as the very embodiment of sin, and the Father wanted nothing to do with Jesus on the cross. Jesus was utterly deserted; he appeared powerless, helpless…not exactly what you’d expect from a king.
But here in our text, we see that Jesus is now king, and he is definitely not alone. The first words of our text refer to his first ally, God the Father, “grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come.” The same Father who had deserted the Son on account of our sins is once again his partner. And as the verse goes on, Christ’s second ally is mentioned, “and from the seven spirits before the throne.” Maybe you scratched your head trying to figure out who these seven spirits were. These aren’t seven separate beings that serve God. They aren’t seven super-angels or anything like that. Instead, this is a reference to the Holy Spirit. There’s an alternate translation in the NIV that reads instead of seven spirits, “the seven-fold spirit.” Whenever you see the number “7” in the Bible, especially in Revelation, it’s a hint that God is being specified. And plus, if we just look at the context of that paragraph, it’s obvious that the Trinity is being referred to. As we heard, God the Father is mentioned first, at the end of the verse Jesus Christ is referenced by name, and this seven-fold spirit, the Holy Spirit, is in the middle. The point of this verse is that Jesus surely is not a loner. Even though he appeared weak and frail here on earth, he is now allied with the two other mighty members of the God-head: The Father and the Holy Spirit.