Servants of God,
Will you miss Christmas? Will the season slip past you as you sip on cider and nibble on a cookie while visions of sugar plums dance through your head? Or will you think clearly about the birth of the King?
When the wise men arrived from the “East” to worship baby Jesus, they set Herod’s teeth on edge and caused all of Jerusalem to be upset. Why? Because they came asking about the birthplace of the “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2). When Nathaniel first encountered Jesus, he exclaimed “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49). As Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, the crowd is shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). When Jesus was crucified, the charge against him was “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38).
The whole issue of the King and His Kingdom screams at us at Christmas if we have ears to hear. Jesus is a king who came into the world under the most-humble of circumstances. He had the blood line of great King David, but few grasped just what happened in Bethlehem. Because his life was that of a servant-king, it was difficult for the people of his day to receive him as king. His humble life hardly fit the preconceived notions of a messianic king who would smash Rome. Ironically, he did smash Rome just as the prophet Daniel had said he would (Daniel 2). Few grasped that fact.
Jesus’ kingdom is one of the “already but not yet” variety. This kingdom is “in the midst” of those who do not recognize it. It is a kingdom that must be received with child-like humility and faith. It comes, but not with “signs to be observed…” (Luke 17:20). It comes, not with regulations and nit picking about food and drink, but in “righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). It is a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36), but it is a kingdom that transforms the entire world. Daniel’s picture is of a stone not made with human hands that devastates kingdoms and fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:34-37).
Jesus is a king who comes to take back the fallen world by sacrifice and resurrection. The people of God now rightly proclaim that there is one true king of all the universe. The early Christians proclaimed the “kingdom of God” (Acts 28:31). They were “fellow workers for the kingdom of God” (Colossians 4:11). They are identified as those called by God “into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Their priorities are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33). In other words, the kingdom of this King is unlike anything the world has ever seen. This king rules and reigns in heaven where he awaits full consummation of his kingdom. He also reigns in the hearts and minds of his subjects who by faith have received new birth and a new mind and a new way of living.
King Jesus was largely ignored and rejected during his first advent, but he is poised to come again in power and great glory. Every eye will see him in his celestial glory and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord at his second advent. If we do not grasp this and proclaim this, we miss the meaning of Christmas. To properly observe and celebrate the birth of the King of kings is to give him his rightful praise and worship and to look forward to the day when the kingdom will fully come. I am praying for opportunities to proclaim the king this Christmas season. I hope you are too.