Followers of Jesus seem to be at the mercy of earthly kings bent on destroying them. But each of these rulers will instantly fold at a single word from the mouth of Christ. Today, Barry Cooper invites us to take heart in knowing the King of kings and Lord of lords.
If election cycles teach us anything, it’s that we long for a leader who will always lead wisely and justly, and always defend us from whoever, or whatever, might harm us.
And if election cycles teach us anything else, it’s that such a leader never materializes. Some leaders may strike us as better than others; but none of them, not even the best of them, have ever been able to be the protector and defender we really long for.
As we saw in another episode of Simply Put, the one about “The Offices Of Christ”, Jesus is described in Scripture as Prophet, Priest, and King.
Not just any King, but the ultimate King. The One we’ve always longed for.
God’s people had kings in the Old Testament, of course. Israel longed for a a king who would protect and defend them. And each one was a disappointment, even at their best. King David is the most famous: a king described as “a man after God’s own heart”, a great leader, musician, poet, and warrior. A man of legendary courage and faith, who was gracious enough to forgive readily, and humble enough to receive correction from others. And yet even he, as great a king as he was, was guilty of some heinous sins. The King God’s people really longed for never materialized.
But Jesus is described in Scripture as “Great David’s greater Son”. Descended from David’s royal line, Jesus is nevertheless the Greater King. Why is it that Jesus is described in this way, as the ultimate King?
The Westminster Shorter Catechism explains: “Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies”.
So supreme are his kingly credentials that the New Testament doubles down on that title, describing Jesus as “the King of Kings”.
Paul’s letter to Timothy describes Jesus as:
…the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords…
Similarly, Revelation chapters 17 and 19 both declare Jesus to be “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords”.
Ironically, in the Old Testament, Daniel describes the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer as “King of Kings” – he was that powerful in the ancient world. But if Nebuchadnezzer was a King of Kings, then it would be accurate to say that Jesus is the King of the King of Kings.
What a difference it ought to make to believers to know that this King – the King of all Kings – has got our backs.
For some time during my teens, there was a boy in the year above – let’s call him “Jenkins” – who would make a beeline for me seemingly every breaktime. He’d barge me into a locker, cover me in chalk dust, empty the contents of my bag all over the floor, take my lunch money: as bullies went, he was disappointingly unoriginal. But at the time I was terrified of him. Scared enough that one afternoon, I actually ran out across the school field to try and get away from him, and then, when I realised he was gaining on my asthmatic self, I heroically fell over and pretended I was injured.
Anyway, in that moment, as I lay on the ground, and he kept coming towards me, I remember bracing myself. I knew there was going to be kicking or punching, and possibly both.
And then I heard another voice. Much bigger and deeper and more fearful than his. A voice with an authority that stopped him dead in his tracks. The Deputy Head Master had followed him out onto the field and said, “Jenkins!”
There was a higher authority on the field. He was on my side. And instantly I knew I was safe.
That’s a tiny and insufficient illustration, of course. But it begins to hint at who Christ is for those who love Him.
Followers of Christ may seem to be at the mercy of earthly “kings” who are bent on bullying, persecuting, and even destroying them. But there’s no earthly power, no government, no monarch or regime which would not, at a word from His mouth, instantly fold.
I think if I’d been able to look over the shoulder of that bully, and seen the teacher already striding across the field towards us, I would have stood up. I could have spoken to him boldly. Maybe even fearlessly.
If you’re a follower of Christ, what difference does it make to you, knowing – as you do – the King of Kings?