OUR KING IS COMING
Revelation 1:3-8 (Christian Standard Bible)
Our Christmas Carols remind us that Jesus Christ was born a king:
• “Born thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King” (Come Thou Long-expected Jesus).
• “King of kings, yet born of Mary” (Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence).
• “Glory to the newborn King” (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing).
• “Come and behold him, born the king of angels” (O Come, All Ye Faithful).
• “All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to thee, our heavenly King” (As With Gladness Men of Old).
• “Come adore on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the newborn King” (Angels We Have Heard on High).
• “Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ, the newborn King” (Angels, From the Realms of Glory.
• “Let earth receive her King” (Joy to the World).
• “Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven’s all gracious King” (It Came Upon the Midnight Clear).
• “This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing” (What Child is This).
• Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Born is the King of Israel” (The First Nowell).
It is appropriate for us to stop during this season of Advent and consider Jesus as our Christ – our Messiah, our king. Why was it important that Christ our Savior be announced by the angelic army as the newborn king of Israel? Why did God’s anointed king have to go to the cross? There are all sorts of questions that come to mind when one thinks about Jesus as king. Today’s passage guides us to the answers of some of those questions.
Jesus was born as God’s anointed king.
The Magi asked Herod “”Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” That points to the historical reality that our savior has a birthday. He was born in Bethlehem. We have more historical evidence for the birth of Jesus than we do for our own birth.
John calls Jesus the faithful witness (5). Jesus commands us to be witnesses for him, but long before we were alive, he was a witness for us. Christ told the Laodiceans that he was the “Amen, the Faithful and True Witness” (3:14) But he condemned that church because they kept witnessing to their own wealth but they were really “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (3:17). They were hypocrites. Jesus is the real deal. He was born where he was, when he was, to be the Witness to God’s light in our darkness. I’ll share more about that in the evening service.
When we celebrate Christmas, we remember the most significant life that ever will be. Christmas is not really about family, or joy in the face of hardship, and it is most certainly not about a fat man in a red suit. Christmas is about the man who was born to be Israel’s Messiah, and God’s witness to us.
Jesus went to the cross as God’s anointed king.
John tells us that Jesus “loves us and has set us free from our sins by his blood” (5). The cross was not a mistake. It was God’s plan to send his only Son to die for our sins. The unbelieving word cannot quite figure out why we keep harping on the fact that Jesus died. They might be sorry that he died, but they cannot understand what that has to do with them.
The author of Hebrews tells us that “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of humanity, and after that he will appear a second time. This time he will not deal with sin, but he will save those who eagerly wait for him” (Hebrews 9:28 GW). Our king had to go to the cross because that was a necessary step in his plan. He is our Savior, but he has not yet saved us completely. He came first as a sacrifice.
And when he comes again he is going to raise the dead. He’s not just going to raise us from the dead, but everyone. Verse 7 says that every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. Those eyes have long been shut in the sleep of death. But our coming king is going to open them again. They will look on whom they have pierced. Like all those who have chosen to reject Jesus as king, there will come a day when they will be forced to admit that he is their king – they will weep in sorrow, and gnash their teeth in anger. The king will return, and it will be their turn to die – and permanently.
Jesus was raised from the dead as God’s anointed king.
Notice that verse 5 calls Jesus the “the firstborn from the dead.” He is called that because he is the first to be raised from the dead. The apostle Paul explains death and resurrection to us with these words:
• “since death originated through a human, resurrection from the dead ones will also originate through a human. Because just as everyone in Adam is dying, in the same way everyone in Christ will be made alive. But each crop will be harvested in its own order: Christ, the first harvest, then the ones to be harvested by Christ when he makes his appearance” (1 Corinthians 15:21-23 JDV).
But Christ is the firstborn in another sense as well. The firstborn in a royal family inherits the throne. Paul calls him “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15). He is the king-elect, just waiting for his inauguration.
We belong to the coming king. He has “made us a kingdom” (6) now. We are citizens of that kingdom which is coming down from the sky.
Jesus is coming again as God’s anointed king.
This planet has lots of kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, chiefs and chairmen, lords and ladies, but it is destined to be ruled by one person: Jesus Christ “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (5).
Daniel had seen a vision of this coming king. He said “with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching” (Daniel 7:13). He said this king “was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
Jesus said that when he returns, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
When Jesus ascended, he was lifted up into the sky while his followers looked on, “and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). Then two angels appeared and said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). He left in a cloud, he will return in a cloud. When he left, everyone was watching. When he returns, everyone will be watching.
The first time our king came to earth, it was to serve, and give his life as a ransom. The next time he comes it will be to take his rightful place as king of kings. Our king is coming!