UPDATE: this series of messages has now been put together as a short book, available for purchase from Amazon for Kindle.
Note: This is a manuscript, not a transcript. Therefore the text will be different than the audio recording.
Review and Introduction
This is the fourth and final sermon in the series we have been going through, looking at who Jesus is. My goal has been to increase our vision for Jesus by looking at who Jesus was while on earth and who he is now while living in heaven.
Jesus is the most fascinating historical figure in history. He was an amazing teacher, a great healer and prophet. People gladly worshipped him, and he gladly accepted the worship. He was ordered to be killed by crucifixion because of his claims to be equal with God. After he was killed, he rose from being dead and appeared to hundreds of people before disappearing into the clouds before their very eyes.
Now, Jesus lives in heaven, and acts as our prophet and priest, teaching us and making intercession for us as we seek to follow him on earth. Those who identify themselves as Christians are called prophets and priests in the name of Jesus. We have learned that at prophet’s role is to proclaim the word of God and to to bear witness to the nature and purposes of God, and a priests role is to love and serve others as we worship God together.
This morning the answer to the question, “who is Jesus?” is this:
Jesus is our King.
This identity of Jesus as king fulfills a great need we all have for a good king to rule our lives. We have taken God off the throne by making ourselves more important than he is. But, we will forever be unsatisfied, constantly looking for someone or something better to rule our lives, until we put Jesus on the throne, and submit ourselves to his kingship.
We will start by looking at the ancient kings of Israel, as recorded in the Old Testament historical books, and discover the role and responsibilities of a king.
Next, we will explore the significance of Jesus being referred to as the Son of David, and the King of the Jews.
Finally, we will discover what our response should be to Jesus as King. As you will see, our response to Jesus as our King is slightly different than the other two identities. With Jesus as our prophet, we have inherited the ministry of prophecy. With Jesus as our priest, we have inherited the ministry of priesthood. But, with Jesus as King, we have inherited something slightly different than kingship. We have inherited a royal identity.
Before we get there, let me tell you a little bit about Israel, and how they got themselves into a bit of trouble by wanting a human king to rule their nation instead of having God as their king.
The Kings of Israel
Ever since the beginning of time, there has been a conflict between God and humans for kingship. When Adam and Eve sinned, they took God off the throne of their lives and put themselves there. And, when God first established the nation of Israel, he was their king, doing his work through righteous judges and conquering nations on their behalf.
But it wasn’t long until the Israelites wanted a human king to rule them and fight their battles, just like all the other nations around them. They wanted to be like everyone else, even though God told them they were to be set apart as his people.
But, God gave the Israelites what they wanted: a human king to rule them. But he also gave them this warning through the judge, Samuel:
1 Samuel 8:11-18
This is how a king will reign over you… The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment.
The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves.
When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.
The Israelites thought they knew better than God and demanded a king anyway. God chose Saul to be the first king. But, it wasn’t long before the Israelites complained about him and wanted to kill the people who decided Saul should be king.
This pattern continued. God gave the Israelites a king, but the people were oppressed by the human kings as they made poor decisions, and became greedy and proud. They were ruled by men just like themselves, and they desired someone who would rule with perfect justice.
God promised he would provide them a king like that, someone who would rescue them from the evils of themselves and the nations around them.
But first they would have to go through many hard times, including being conquered by neighbouring nations, and being exiled from their land. Even when they eventually got their land back, they were under the rule of the Roman Empire, and had very little rights or freedoms.
This brings us to the time when Jesus lived, and the nation of Israel desired their promised king and rescuer more than ever. They were constantly seeking the one who would restore the glory of Israel and give them back the glory they first had when they ruled the promised land.
Jesus, the Son of David, the King of Israel
Throughout Jesus’ life, people referred to him as the Son of David:
Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”
Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them. But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him.
What does this mean when people refer to Jesus as the Son of David? When we read that, it comes to mind maybe that Jesus is a descended of David, and we know that David was a great king of Israel.
But if you lived in ancient Israel, and heard someone referred to as the Son of David, you would look up and take notice. Calling someone the Son of David was like calling him the Messiah or the Christ, the promised rescuer of Israel. There were thousands of people who were descendants of David, but only the future king of Israel was referred to as the Son of David.
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 – There are some prophecies that speak of two fulfillments. One is more immediate, and one is fulfilled later. This is one of those prophecies. It speaks of Solomon, who would build the temple and it also speaks of Jesus, who would establish an eternal temple: the church.
This is God speaking to David through the prophet Nathan:
For when you die and join your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, one of your sons, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for me. And I will secure his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my favor from him as I took it from the one who ruled before you. I will confirm him as king over my house and my kingdom for all time, and his throne will be secure forever.
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.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
We believe that Jesus is the fulfillment of these prophecies, and that he is the promised king because he was called the Son of David, and the King of Israel by many people. He accepted this title right until the time of his death.
The book of Matthew begins by telling us in 1:1 that Jesus is the Son of David:
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
John 1:45-49 tells about Jesus calling people to follow him. He called Philip, and then Philip went to find a companion of his named Nathanael, who was skeptical about the identity of Jesus:
Philip went to look for Nathanael and told him, “We have found the very person Moses and the prophets wrote about! His name is Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.”
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied.
As they approached, Jesus said, “Now here is a genuine son of Israel—a man of complete integrity.”
“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.”
Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!”
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
There are many other passages I could read that tell us that Jesus is the Son of David, King of Israel.
Perhaps the most striking passage is when Jesus was sentenced to die by crucifixion because of his claim to be the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the future king of Israel:
Turn to John chapter 18
33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands.
10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
Following Jesus’ ascension, the Apostles taught that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the future king of Israel.
Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord
So, you see that Jesus is indeed the fulfillment of the prophecy that God would provide Israel with an eternal King, the Son of David, the Messiah.
Living Under the Rule of King Jesus
With Jesus as the eternal King of Israel, what does that mean for us?
Remember from last week: because Jesus is our priest, he has done the work of bringing us into the nation of Israel. We, who are gentiles, have been adopted into the kingdom of God by the authority of Jesus’ priesthood. And now, we are under the rule of the great King of Israel, Jesus Christ, the Son of David.
This means that we are to be people who look like we are ruled by King Jesus. The way we conduct our lives should demonstrate our allegiance to Jesus and our gratitude for his invitation into his great kingdom.
If we profess as prophets that Jesus is King, and we demonstrate the ministry of compassion as priests under the order of Jesus, our entire lives also need to be proof that we are royal members of the kingdom ruled by King Jesus.
Remember 1 Peter 2:9:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
We are royalty because we belong to the King. So, if you identify yourself as a Christian, you identify yourself as royalty, set apart for God, ruled by King Jesus, ready to do or say whatever our King desires.
The most beautiful thing about this is that King Jesus is not like any other king. The kings of Israel were sinners. Even the best king, king David, was a murderer, an adulterer and a liar. David was the best king that humanity could offer. But Jesus is a truly good king, and everything he asks us to do is good.
As I said at the beginning, all of us have a deep need to be ruled by a king that is good. We have all made the mistake of putting someone else on the throne of our lives, namely ourselves.
But we don’t belong on the throne, and deep down, we know that is the case. Deep down, we know that we need to be ruled by a good king, and there is only one king who is good: Jesus Christ.
So, I ask this morning, who is your king? Is it yourself? Is it your job, or your family or your things? Or, is Jesus your king? If he isn’t, you will never be satisfied. You will always be looking for a better king, just like the Israelites did for so many years.
For those of us who’s king is Jesus, let us live as those ruled by him. May our words and our actions prove who our true king is. One of my favourite challenges is that we live lives that demand an explanation. People should be asking you why you live the way you do. And your response should be, “because Jesus Christ is my King!”
This series has been about increasing our vision for who Jesus is. He is our prophet, he is our priest, and he is our king.
This series has also been about who we are. We are prophets, we are priests, and we are royal members of Christ’s kingdom. My desire has been that we live according to the identity of Jesus and the identity we have as followers of Jesus.
Let us take a moment now to dedicate ourselves to this challenge. If you have yet to make Jesus your king, please take this opportunity to receive his invitation to follow him and to join his eternal kingdom.