We are basically unfamiliar with kings. We do not live under the rule of a king or queen. Even in England, which may be the closest we know and understand, the royal family is more a figurehead, and has been in recent years a laughing stock. Certainly this is not representative of kingship. How can we understand?
Britain has a prime minister, but we do not understand that system. We have a president, but that may be little help. Where is a parallel? How do we communicate. Our first task, I want you to think of someone you consider of high position or authority. Would it be a governor, a president, an official of some kind?
Then we can think relevantly about the message of Scripture at this season.
Matthew tells us of two different kinds of kings in Matthew 2. There is the coercive king (Herod), and the new king (Jesus). One enforces his way by might, the other by right. One enforces his way by death, the other by life. One demands followers and is hated, the other only invites and is loved. We can easily miss the point that the Messiah will be a different kind of king. The Jews were looking for military might that would rid them of the shackles of hated Rome. But Jesus comes as a different kind of leader.
I. Jesus is a king who wants to live at your house, Matt. 1-4.
The person of whom you are thinking has just asked if he can come live with you for a while.
Here is a king who STOOPS TO US.
The great message of Scripture is that God has come to our level. He has intersected our dilemma with solutions. He has become like us. The OT is the story of man in the image of God, the NT is the story of God in the image of man. The first is not good news without the second. Phil. 2:5ff. Jesus is Immanuel. He is royalty, but he is not distanced from us. He does not live in castles made with hands, but in hearts.
Despite the poverty of his birth, do not be deceived. The baby Jesus was not threatening, but he does not remain a baby. He has existed before all time; he is eternal. From everlasting to everlasting. I urge you today in this season, that you not just meet the Christ of the manger, but that you meet the man Jesus. Do not see him only in the cradle, but see him on the cross.
That this king will stoop to us is the message of his baptism, of his temptation, of his life, of his cross.
II. Jesus is a king who will serve, Matt. 4-16.
The person of whom you are thinking is a person of compassion and concern.
Here is a king who SERVES US.
In his words and works, Jesus compassionately serves. He comes teaching, preaching, and healing. He comes ministering. He is not seeking to be served, but to serve (20:28). He is one who expresses concern (9:35ff). This is a benevolent king, distinct from Gentile kings and rulers (the || to Matt. 20 is in Luke 22). Here is compassion. Here is one obviously different than Herod. He is not a forceful king, but a faithful king. He is not coercive but compassionate.
This serving king has a kingdom with no geographic boundaries, and seeks to rule in every heart, Matt. 15. He will rule both Jews and Gentiles, Matt. 15. Faith is open to all. This serving king will serve everyone. The focus of this kingdom is not first on what we must do but first on what he has done. Then we can be like our king.
III. Jesus is a king who will die, Matt. 16-28.
The person of whom you are thinking is willing to die for you.
This is a king who SACRIFICES HIMSELF FOR US.
In the transition of Matt. 16, we see that Jesus did not come primarily to preach, teach, and heal in this physical world. He did not come for physical healing, but spiritual. He is the Great Physician. He came to give himself. He came for a higher purpose, just as we are here for a higher purpose. He came to deal with man's spiritual dilemma. He came to deal with the criminal status we have before God. We are lawbreakers. Now we see more clearly--again and again, he predicts his passion, the cross. He will be the sacrifice on our behalf, and fulfill countless OT prophecies.
IV. Jesus is a king who willingly shares his power, Matt. 28
The person of whom you are thinking is willing to put you in the spotlight.
This is a king who STRENGTHENS US.
The gospel of Matthew closes with the Great Commission. This is the text we had read. Our challenge is to be like him. We seek compassion, but even more, we seek passion. To serve, the sacrifice, to tell the story, to take the light.
This king empowers us. Why? Why will he be with us? So we can be his representative to others in this world. We will observe his words, true. But we will also encourage others to observe his teachings.
This king told a parable in Matt. 7:24-28. Real wisdom is to keep his word. Do you know this king? Have you seen the depth of his concern for you? Are you following this king? He wants to come into your heart and dwell with you. He will be the source of strength and power so you can serve and sacrifice as he has for us.
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