Seeing Jesus at Christmas – “The King of the World”
Isaiah 9:6 – “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
“I’m the king of the world,” uttered Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in the movie Titanic. He wasn’t but at that moment, he felt as if he was. He was on a luxury cruise liner, with a girl that he loved, nothing could have been more perfect, at least for the next few hours. We all know how the story ended, the fantasy that he was living out was over, his hopes had sank, and in fact his life was gone. It was a tragic movie, but it illustrates a point, we may believe that we are the kings of the world, but in reality we are not. When we think we are king of the world we are on our way to disaster.
Herod thought he was the king of the world, 2000 years ago. In fact his nickname was the “king of the Jews”, so imagine his surprise when some travelers came to him and asked, “where is he who is born king of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east and we have come to worship him.” Herod was utterly dismayed and perhaps shocked. Whatever emotions he felt at that moment, they quickly turned to anger and to rage. His next thought was, I too need to find this person of whom they speak, not to worship him, but to kill him. His rage burned within him so much that when he found out how long they had been following the star he ordered all the children that age and younger to be killed. He wanted the threat removed, no one was going to take his kingdom.
When I hear his story, I can’t help but to shake my head in disbelief. He was that paranoid, that fearful, that ruthless, that cunning. He was heartless enough to kill innocent children. It is simply unbelievable to me. But it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t surprise me that Herod would take these drastic measures, after all we don’t like anyone that threatens our kingdom do we?
We like to pretend that we too are the kings of the world, and at the very least we believe that we are the kings of our own lives. We believe that so much that whenever anyone tells us any different there is something within us that rebels. No, we want to shout, we are the king. We are the boss of our own lives and no one can tell us any different.
Jesus however does tell us different. He lets us know that we aren’t in charge. We may think we are but we aren’t. Herod thought he was when he told the wise men, “go and search for the child, then come and tell me where he is, so that I too may go and worship him.” They will come back, he thought, I’m the boss, I’m the king, they will do what I say. “And being warned in a dream NOT to return to Herod, they went home another way (Matthew 2:12).” He thought he was in control, but he wasn’t. We think we are in control, but we aren’t.
People want to believe that they are the kings of their own kingdom. Don’t tell me how to live, I’m the king, I can do what I want. Don’t tell me my action is sinful, and if you do, my response, “don’t judge me.” It is the way of the world today.
Jesus however tells us that we aren’t the king. In fact he tells us something worse than that, we are sinners in need of a Savior. We need Him, after all He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. We need Him, the one who is Emmanuel, God is with us. We need Him, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
We want to be the king, but He reminds us that we aren’t. We are sinners and He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We want to believe we are in control. We aren’t. He is the one who has created all things and who holds all things together (Colossians 1).
The world says, I’m on the throne. Jesus says, there is only one God. Two opposing world views clash. Jesus told us it would happen. “He is destined to cause the rise and fall of many”, and “He is the rock that makes men stumble.” He also tells us that we are either for Him or against Him. In other words we either keep living our lives as if we are the kings of the world, OR we repent of our sins and place our faith in Him. When we do that we are saying I’m not the king, but Jesus I know you are, and I’m going to trust you and your ways.
People like to pretend that they are king. So they want all mention of Jesus and His ways removed from society. Herod wanted the same thing 2000 years earlier. He failed, and those who want Jesus removed today will fail as well. He is the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We may pretend that we are, but we aren’t. We may throw back our arms and scream, “I’m the king of the world.” Or at the very least we may smile in the mirror and think, “I’m the king of my life.” We aren’t. Believing that we are however will always lead us to disaster. It did the character in Titanic, and it did Herod, who died a horrible death. Does that mean if we don’t submit to Jesus our lives will come to a horrific end? No, not at all, at least not on this earth. It does mean however that one day we will inherit a place called hell. A place of torment and a place that is very, very real. A place for those who believe that they are the kings of the world.
We aren’t the kings. The real King of Kings is named Jesus, and amazingly He came to this earth and lived a perfect life, then He died a horrific death on a cross. Why? Because He took on my sins and your sins, so that we can be forgiven and so that we could be declared righteous. He died so that we might live. The Bible says, “God made Him who knew no sin, to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Make no mistake about it, we aren’t kings we are sinners, but the King came and died so that we could be forgiven, so that we could become His children, so that we could become His heirs, so that we could be called righteous. He did that because He loves us that much. What a Savior, what a King! To God be the glory!