Why is it Not a Good Idea that We Reject Jesus as King?

Last time I ended by pointing out that instead of submitting to Jesus as King, allowing Him to reign and rule over our life, we reject Jesus as King while trying to keep Him as Savior. We do that because we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to be saved from eternal punishment, but still get to call the shots. While that might sound like a good idea, it’s not.

Why is it Not a Good Idea that We Reject Jesus as King?

When we are left to call the shots — to determine right and wrong, to set the direction for our lives and the society around us, we mess things up royally.

Think about Adam and Eve. God placed them in a perfect garden to live and work under His perfect reign and rule. He gave them dominion over all the animals and land. He provided the Tree of Life in order to sustain them. He even cultivated a relationship with them — walking with them in the cool of the day. Even though they had all of that, they still found a way to mess things up.

Wanting to be wise and determine right and wrong for themselves, they rebelled against God and ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We all know how that turned out. The whole world was plunged into sin.

But Adam and Eve aren’t the only ones who make bad decisions when left to their own devices. I, personally, have made a number of bad decisions. In the past, my finances were one of those areas. I have since learned my lesson, and I’m financially capable now, but in the past, especially in college, if I wanted to go out with my friends, take a trip, or buy something, I just did it or bought it. If I didn’t have the money, I just put it on the credit card. Since I wasn’t paying my credit card off every month, I ended up running my credit card bill up pretty high. Thankfully, God was merciful and gracious, and He allowed me to learn my lesson before it was too late.

Now imagine how different things would have been if I had allowed Jesus to reign and rule over my finances from the beginning. For one I wouldn’t have had to worry about paying off a huge debt. I probably would have had some savings in the bank for a rainy day. And I would’ve been able to use the money I was paying in interest to help further Jesus’ kingdom instead of the credit card companies. Life would’ve been much better, if I would have just let Jesus reign and rule over my finances. But I didn’t. I didn’t because I wanted to be the king. I wanted to call the shots. Just like that didn’t turn out too well for Adam and Eve, it didn’t turn out too well for me, nor will it turn out too well for you.

Finances, however, isn’t the only area we need to allow Jesus to call the shots in. We’ve got to allow Him to call the shots in every area of our lives. If we don’t, we are just setting ourselves up for failure and heartache.

You see, when left to our own devices, we will make bad decisions, which is why we shouldn’t reject Jesus as King.

We Shouldn’t Reject Jesus as King

When we allow Jesus to be king over our lives:

(1) We will experience Jesus’ wise leadership

You see, when we actually live according to what the Bible says, we flourish. Our life is full. Peace, comfort, joy, safety, and security is abundant. Not in a health/wealth kinda way, but in a way that is real and tangible to the Christian. In a way that transcends the circumstances and situations, in which we find ourselves. You see, all those who submit to Jesus as their King can experience this type of life — a full life.

(2) We avoid His Judgment

While Jesus was born as a helpless babe in a manger, He’s now a resurrected King who sits on His throne in heaven. One day, He will return to set up His kingdom on earth. When He does, He will judge all those who haven’t yet submitted to His reign and rule.

So instead of rejecting Jesus as King, we should humbly submit ourselves to Him. Not only to avoid His judgment but also so we can experience His wise leadership and the full and joyful life that comes from following Him.

Conclusion

So to return to our original question: Who is Jesus and how should we respond to Him? Jesus is not only:

  • A Prophet who proclaims the good news of salvation.
  • A Priest who reconciles our relationship with the Father through His death on the cross,
  • He’s also a wise King whose leadership is worth submitting to and following.

My hope that through these articles you have come to see Jesus in all those ways. That you see Him as Prophet, Priest, and King. Seeing Him in those ways, that you listen to His message, hope in His salvation, and submit to His leadership. If you do that, you will receive the greatest gift you could ever receive — the gift of salvation.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you recognize these truths about Jesus?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon Jesus as King

Who is Jesus and How Should We Respond to Him?

On your birthday I’m sure you open a few presents. I know I do! If you think about it, the gifts you open on your birthday say a lot about who you are. So much so that if we were to take a field trip to your house and look at the gifts you received, we’d be able to tell what you are interested in, what your hobbies are, and even what type of work you do.

So for instance, my Dad usually receives either some jeans, a tool of some sort, a gift card for Home Depot, a new baseball hat, bat, cleats, or a glove on his birthday. He receives one of those things because my Dad likes to play softball and he remodels houses. So you can see that the gifts we receive say a lot about who we are.

That’s not just true today. It was also true in Jesus’ day. Which means that the gifts He received after His birth tell us a lot about who He is. But they don’t just tell us who Jesus is, they also tell us how we should respond to Jesus. So who is Jesus and how should we respond to Him?

Who is Jesus and How Should We Respond to Him?

So far, in our series, we’ve learned that Jesus is a Prophet and a Priest, but there is one more role we need to explore. The Magi’s gifts reveal that role to us.

Who Do the Magi Reveal Jesus to Be?

We pick up the Magi or Wisemen, whatever you want to call them, in Matthew chapter 2. Matthew begins in verse 1 by telling us that,

“…After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”” (Mt 2:1–2)

The Magi were most likely Gentiles of high position. As their name indicates, they were specialists in astronomy — stargazers.

As they gazed into the dark night sky, they saw a star they had never seen before. Somehow they knew that this star was the one that would lead them to the king of the Jews. God may have revealed that to them through special revelation. Or somehow they had contact with the Scriptures and were able to discern this fact. Some commentators think Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17 could be that Scripture. That is a possibility especially when you consider what it says.

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth.” (Nu 24:17)

But all of that is just conjecture. Ultimately we don’t know how they knew, but they did.

Seeing that star in the night sky, they saddled up and began to follow it. It led them to Jerusalem, where they started asking around about the King of the Jews. Their questions unsettled those living in Jerusalem at this time.

Herod was the king, and let’s just say he was more than a little crazy and paranoid. History tells us that he had one of his wives and two of his sons killed because he thought they were plotting to steal his throne from him. So when these foreigners rolled into town and starting asking where the King of the Jews was, everyone was troubled, including Herod.

Wondering who this king is, Herod called the Chief priests and Scribes together. Essentially he assembled a scriptural dream team to figure out where the Christ would be born. This dream team ends up pointing him to Micah 5:2, which Matthew quotes for us in verse 6. The text says,

““ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”” (Mt 2:6)

Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem, which is not too far from Jerusalem. Herod now knows where Jesus should be, but he doesn’t know how old He should be. So he calls the Wise Men or Magi to the kingdom, and he asks them what time the star had appeared. The Magi didn’t know that Herod was up to no good, so they told him. With that last piece of information, Herod now knows how old Jesus is and where He should be.

Now, if you are familiar with the story, you know that’s not true. Herod didn’t want to worship Jesus. He wanted to kill him in order to protect his throne, but the wise men didn’t know so they agreed to bring Jesus back. We aren’t going to get into it in this post, but know that God does reveal Herod’s plan to the Wisemen, so they don’t try to bring Jesus back. I encourage you to read the rest of the story to see how that plays out. But for now, let’s pick back up in verse 9,

“After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. (Mt 2:9–11a)

Finally, after such a long journey the Magi had found Jesus. And finding him, they did what we should all do — they fell down and worshipped Him.

After falling down on their knees to worship Jesus, we are told in the second half of verse 11 that:

“…opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Mt 2:11b)

The Durham’s, who are Jen and I’s friends from seminary, bought a new house this last year and they had us over a few months back to show us their new home.

Since it was our first time there, we brought them a house warming gift. I wish I could tell you we brought them gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but I can’t. It’s not that I wouldn’t if I could, it’s just that those are expensive gifts. Gifts that are reserved for a King. While I think highly of the Durham’s, they aren’t royalty.

But Jesus is — He is a King; the King. We not only know that from the narrative, but we also know that from the gifts the Magi brought.

All this tells us, then, that Jesus not only serves as a Prophet and Priest but He also serves as a King.

A Foreign Rule

Now, probably for most of us, the idea of living under the rule of a king is foreign. We live in the United States. We don’t have a king. We have a President that is voted into office every 4 years. So I think it is safe to say that if we want to know what it’s like to live under a king, we would have to take a trip. If we were to do that, if we were to travel to a place ruled by a king, we’d find that a king is someone who has absolute rule. What they say goes. There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s. There are no votes. The king makes all the decisions. He sets all the rules. Those in the kingdom are expected to follow them.

The same is true of Jesus. As a King, He has the right to reign and rule over His kingdom just like any other king. I think this is where we get hung up. You see, most of us are happy for Jesus to serve as a Prophet who pronounces the good news of salvation, and even as a Priest who mediates on our behalf, but we aren’t willing to call Jesus King. We aren’t willing to do that because we want to be in control. We want to call the shots. We want to be the king.

So instead of submitting to Jesus as King, allowing Him to reign and rule over our life, we reject Jesus as King while trying to keep Him as Savior. We do that because we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to be saved from eternal punishment, but still get to call the shots. While that might sound like a good idea, it’s not. We will explore why that is in my next post.

Question for Reflection

  1. Do you recognize Jesus as King?

Resources

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Post adapted from my sermon Jesus as King

Jesus, the Warrior King

Warrior King

For the last several weeks Jesus’ birth has been the topic of conversation. Rightly so, since contrary to popular culture that’s what Christmas is about. That’s why the church studies it, sings about it, and puts on musicals and plays depicting it. That’s why you read about Jesus’ birth with your family and place mangers around your house and in your yard. Christmas is about Jesus. His birth is the reason for the season.

Jesus’ birth is important because it marks the in-breaking of God into history. His birth begins God’s rescue mission to save His people from sin, Satan, and death. So its only right we would remember and reflect on it every year.

There is a Still A Longing in Our Hearts

But as one author says,

“Christmas is … a promise. Yes, the Savior has come and with Him peace on earth, but the story is not finished. Yes, there is peace in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world. Every Christmas is a “turning of the page” until Jesus returns. Every December 25th marks another year that draws us closer to the fulfillment of the ages, that draws us closer to … home.”

The author is right. We have peace in our hearts because the long awaited Savior has come and has died on the cross. That’s not, however, where the story ends.

The Final Chapter

The story doesn’t end with Jesus lying in a manger or hanging on a cross. Nor does the story end with the resurrected Savior ascending into heaven. There is still one more chapter to come. A chapter where Jesus isn’t painted as a humble babe in a manger or a bloodied corpse hanging on a cross. No, the final chapter paints Jesus as  a warrior King poised to conquer His enemies.

The Rider on the White Horse

Read the Words of Revelation 19

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called isThe Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21, ESV)

The Warrior King

John’s picture of Jesus in Revelation is a far different picture than most have of Him. Even so, this is the Jesus we all long to meet. The Jesus who will defeat our enemies once and for all. The Jesus who will fulfill the longing in our hearts. The One we should all turn and follow.

While it was necessary for Jesus to come as a man and die as a man, the story doesn’t end there. The story ends with Jesus conquering our enemies and reigning over His people as a Warrior King. Since that is true, our call should be: Come, Lord Jesus come!

Questions for Reflection

  1. When you picture Jesus, who do you picture Him as?
  2. Do you realize Jesus will come as a Warrior King one day to destroy His enemies?

Resources

Quote: Joni Eareckson Tada, A Christmas Longing, 137 in Come Thou Long Expected Savior edited by Nancy Guthrie.

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