Summary: We can think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but we can never exalt Jesus beyond what he is worthy. John says in verse 5 that Jesus is the ruler of kings on the earth.
WHO IN THE WORLD IS KING? Based on Rev. 1:5
By Pastor Glenn Pease
Queen Victoria if England often expressed her wish that Christ would return before she died so that she could cast her crown at His feet. When she did die, her son Edward VII ascended to the throne as king. He had been a rather wild man in his younger years. A man by the name of John Knox McEwen was concerned about the king enough to write him a letter asking him if his majesty was born again in Christ. He received a gracious reply in which the king said he was the first man in all of England to express any concern for his soul, and he gave a simple testimony of how he had, like his mother, surrendered his heart and life to the King of kings. John McEwen was 70 years old, and at 93 he was still telling others of his letter from the king.
John the Apostle is also in his 90's as he tells us about his letter, not from the king who bowed to the King of kings, but from the King of kings before whom he bowed. John says in verse 5 that Jesus is the ruler of kings on the earth.
The Hapsburg family once ruled half of Europe. Today, only one Hapsburg still rules over the tiny land of Leichenstein. It is a 61 square mile country, and is the 4th smallest in the world. Jesus, however, has gone from a carpenter who didn't even own a plot of ground to be buried in to the ruler of kings on earth. You talk about a success story. There is not another to match this one. We can think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but we can never exalt Jesus beyond what he is worthy. We too often do not exalt Him to the place He should rightly have in our minds and hearts.
If a hunter got out of a car and asked you to do something, you would not respond with the same enthusiasm as you would if a ruler or dignitary asked you for service. The higher the authority the more we respond, and that is why it is important to stress the Lordship and Kingship of Christ. It is easy to see why the world does not acknowledge Jesus as King. Jesus is a total mystery to the world, and His success story is beyond their comprehension. Helen Kramer expressed it so well in her play titled For Heaven's Sake. Two well dressed business men with attache cases meet in a bar. One has just been handed a track with the title Carry Christ Into Your Work. He looks at it and sings this song of bewilderment.
"He was a flop at 33! His whole career was one of failure and of loss, But the thing that so distressful Is He could have been successful, But instead of climbing up, He climbed a cross!
He was a flop at 33! He jumped from carpentry to preaching to the mob. He never was adjusted So He spent His whole life busted,
And He never got promoted on the job!
He never saved a single cent,
And Dun and Broadstreet wouldn't list Him on their list,
He could not establish credit And you might as well be dead
At 33 as have your credit not exist!
He spent His time with fisher folk,
When there were more important contacts to be made.
He would contemplate on flowers And ignore the cocktail hours.
Its no wonder that He never made the grade!
Now you and I have never flopped,
And yet our names are never dropped
The way that they've been dropping His since He's been dead!
We've fought our way to the top.
We're both established as successful men of worth,
So the thing that puzzles me,
Is why that flop at 33
Is called the most successful man to live on earth?"
It is easy to see why Jesus is a mystery to the world. But it is hard to grasp why even Christians sometimes ignore or deny the Kingship of their Lord. Many commentators just skip over these words of verse 5 like they are a mere minor matter of no great significance. John says that Jesus is three things here. He is the Faithful Witness, the first born from the dead, and the Ruler of kings on the earth. The first two are handled quite well by most commentators, but the third one is so radical and shocking in all of its implications that men are afraid to look at it honestly. Many just skip over it in embarrassment. The Living Bible robs it of its force by saying, "He is far greater than any king in all the earth." That is a weak translation, for John says, "He is the ruler of the kings of earth."