Jesus the King
“Rejoice greatly…Behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon as ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass”(Zechariah 9:9). Many of the kings of earth have been tyrants who imposed great hardships on their subjects; but Zechariah the prophet tells us of a king who is just and brings salvation.
The anticipation of such a king coming is cause for rejoicing!
In fact Zechariah says, “Rejoice greatly.” And when we see this prophecy fulfilled, as recorded in Matthew 21:4-9, by the coming of Jesus into the world, surely we can rejoice.
This King Was Prophesied
The Old Testament makes many references to the coming of this great King: “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” (Jeremiah 23:5). “For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel” (33:17). Even the place of his birth was pinpointed. “Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). Then we come to the New Testament and see the prophecies fulfilled and see what it means for Jesus to be King: “And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be not end”(Luke 1:31-33). Some suggest that the day of his reign is yet to come, but in his message on the day of Pentecost Peter cites the promise made to David as referring to his resurrection (Acts 2:25-36).
Jesus Christ is today King of kings and Lord of lords.
He reigns over the natural creation. He is the creator and he holds it all together (Colossians 1:16-17). He has power over all flesh (John 17:2) and none can thwart his purposes. And in a special way he is king of saints (Revelation 15:3).
This King Was Humble
What a picture we get of this great King! Though he is the King above every king he comes not with the pomp and show of earthly monarchs. He comes in humility riding upon a little beast of burden.
Jesus had not come to impress the high and mighty but to minister to the poor and lowly.
He did not remain aloof where the common man could not reach him, but walked among them healing the sick, lifting up the lame and restoring sight to the blind. Jesus made a special trip through Samaria to meet a woman at Jacob’s well and give her living water. He called Zacchaeus, a despised publican, to bring salvation to his house. He welcomed the children whom the disciples would have sent away. His word to the burdened soul was, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest” (Matthew 11:28). And he declared, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”(John 6:37b).
What a remarkable thing that the greatest of all kings came with humility in the form of a servant!
We can understand why Peter at first objected to the idea of Jesus washing his feet. How could it be that the Lord of all would assume this posture of washing his disciples feet? But here is another example of the fact that though he was King, he was also a servant. In fact from the time of his youth he was about his Father’s business and was totally submissive to his will.
This King Has Salvation
And we also read that he comes “having salvation.” He came to save sinners. There was nothing about fallen man to attract his favor nor to obligate him to bestow the smallest mercy. Had he dealt with this sinful race according to its own deserts he would have passed it by and saved none. Sinful man would never seek to be rescued from his corrupt state. O yes, he would gladly pursue religious rites and deeds by which he concluded that he could elevate himself, but he would never seek the true and living God.
What mercy that God determined to save a people and sent his Son to redeem them!
What mercy that the great God of heaven, the Ancient of Days, willingly became a partaker of flesh and blood. What mercy that he continued on course when he was despised and rejected of men. What mercy that he humbled himself even to the death of the cross. What mercy that he was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. What mercy that these who were rebels by nature are changed by grace and adopted into his family. What mercy that they shall all one day surround his throne and sing his praises forever. Think of what it means to you to know that Jesus Christ is King.
As King he is the mighty conqueror. He came to save his people from their sins and he did it. He was tempted by Satan, opposed by the Jewish leaders, crucified at Calvary; but he conquered sin, Satan, and death.
Psalm 24 anticipates his triumphal entrance into heaven following his resurrection: “Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (8). Some speak of Jesus as though he is often frustrated and defeated; but what a comfort to know that he is the mighty King of glory! Isaiah prophesied, “He shall not fail nor be discouraged” (42:4). He did not fail. He finished the work given him by the Father. He laid down his life for the sheep and secured their salvation.
This King Inspires Devotion
As we consider his victories of the past we are encouraged to call on him for the help we need now. There is no battle he cannot win, no enemy he cannot defeat — so as we ask for his help when we come to the throne of grace, we know can put our total trust in him. Another practical lesson for us is to consider that since he came lowly, he came in a true spirit of humility, we are to follow his example. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant…”(Philippians 2:5-7). It is easy to assume that we have humbled ourselves, that we have the mind of a servant, when actually there is much pride to be confronted. Pride lifts it ugly head when complaints are made. One asks, “Why should I have to endure this great trial that has come upon me?” And another says, “It is just not right that I have been unfairly criticized.” But when we consider how King Jesus was maligned, railed upon, and ultimately crucified and still prayed “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” we realize that if we are truly humble we have no ground for self-pity or complaint. In some lands today where a king reigns with a heavy hand and his subjects live in fear; given the opportunity the people would gladly remove him from office. But if a vote were taken in the kingdom of God today, there would be no hesitation: every hand would go up to vote for Jesus as King.
Have you bowed to him acknowledging him as Lord and Savior?
There is coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess he is Lord, he is King. May we all bow before him today.