27/12/2007

Reigning on David's throne

What is the relevance of Jesus today? At this time of year, we have looked at the arrival of Jesus upon the earth, and for most people this is the extent of their experience of Jesus. A baby coming to a world of suffering, wars and desperate need. Many turn away because they don't stop to see what happened to this child who was "born King" (Matt 2v2). And many Christians live in deep discouragement because of not seeing where the King is now.

Yet the relevance of Jesus to this desperate world was announced up front, before He was born, by the angel Gabriel:

"[You shall] call His name Jesus, He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father David." (Luke 1v31-32)

I spent some time on the morning of 23rd December sharing about this verse with my fellowship in London. I hope these few notes bless you and encourage you as you behold the King upon the throne.


The great expectation

God told David, "your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever" (2 Sam 7v16). After the years of division, invasion, exile and occupation there was the expectation that Messiah would come and restored David's Kingdom.

Yet the prophecies point to Him being much more than just an earthly King:

"His seed also I will make to endure forever, and His throne as the days of heaven." (Psalm 89v29, see also v3-4, v24-29, v35-37).

"His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; all nations shall call Him blessed." (Psalm 72v17, and the rest of this psalm)

So the angel's announcement was a declaration that this King has come!


The great misunderstanding

But Jesus did not fulfill this expectation during His first coming.

On the road to Emmaus He made a very important statement - "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory!" (Luke 24v26). He had a path to travel before taking His throne as King. He came - as His name declares - to save His people, not from the Romans, but from their sins (Matt 1v21).

He achieved this through suffering. The scholars of Jesus' day showed some confusion as to the Messiah's likely ministry, some even suggesting two Messiahs - a suffering Messiah and Messiah the King. Yet Jesus suffered to be King.

Messiah had come to shepherd (Micah 5v4), but the sheep were lost (Isaiah 53v6), yet through His suffering, the sheep would be delivered (Isaiah 53v10-12). He didn't march into Jerusalem to kick out the Romans, but marched into hell to strip the devil of his power, the chains are broken, and Messiah has set us free to be a people for Himself (Colossians 1v13-14, Titus 2v14).

And now...

"This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore, being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool."'" (Acts 2v32-35).

The King is now upon David's throne, reigning.


The great ommission

What is the relevance of this? A few suggestions:

- Satan is not on the throne, but is subject to Jesus who reigns over all. We need not fear the news, or anything that is going on in the world.
- Every Christian has a King. Satan is called the god of this world, but he is not the god of the believer's world. We have been taken out from under his rule and given a new Ruler who is good.
- As those who have a King, we are a community, a nation, not simply a bunch of individuals doing our own thing. If we truly understood our King's reign as Head over His community, then I believe we would make the community a priority. But we are not a nation of subjects and citizens only, rather we are the King's friends, children, brothers and sisters, co-heirs, ambassadors, witnesses, His army in the earth. Not an army of guns and bombs, but with the Holy Spirit, prayer and the glorious gospel...
- As He is the mighty King, we have nothing to be ashamed of, we need not hold back in telling of Him, and we should expect with faith that the King will demonstrate His awesome power as we declare His word.

I believe that the reason the Great Commission (which flows from His authority - see Matt 28v18-20) has become the great ommission, is because we have forgotten who is on the throne. We have forgotten the awesome power that He has and the awesome promises made in scripture concerning His reign.

While perhaps the Israel of Jesus' days focused on Messiah as King and missed the Messiah who came first as the suffering servant, perhaps we are guilty of focusing on Him as the suffering servant only and missing the fact of His current - and growing - Kingly reign and glory.


The great victory assured

The King's story is not yet over:

"Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end..." (Isaiah 9v7)

"I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion... Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as Your possession." (Psalm 2v6-8)

"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2v14)

"The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool.' The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!" (Psalm 110v1-2)

He shall reign until the glory of God covers the earth. He is ruling and reigning right now, but right across the earth that rule is being extended as more and more are delivered and brought into His victorious Kingdom, a Kingdom without end.

2 comments:

Dan Bowen said...

So Ern Baxter speaks again!!

Peter Day said...

Of course!! This is the truth, and it must keep going out! :)