Recently, my wife and I attended a phenomenal and international ministry moment with brothers and sisters in Christ. This retreat session, hosted in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, focused on emotional and Spiritual healing.
It was during our daily sessions, as we readied our hearts for worship, that I found myself wondering about the things we say and sing in Christendom. One such moment occurred as we sang, Chris Tomlin’s “You are My King”:
“I’m forgiven because you were forsaken I’m accepted, You were condemned. I’m alive and well, Your spirit is within me Because you died and rose again”
Awesome words, and very moving when one reflects on all that Christ did for us at Calvary. However, unlike those in the audience from the UK, I have no concept of what it means to have a King. In fact, I am not sure that being a King was the Lord’s objective? The term was familiar language in the culture of Christ’s day, as was “gospel” or “good news”; the latter, a powerful political tool used by ruling Monarch’s, once invading armies were annihilated. Kings and Emperors would roll into small towns on chariots with great pomp, announcing the salvation of their otherwise downtrodden subjects.
Jesus, by His on profession was Good News; but,the idea of kingship was purely that of hopeful Jews, then living under strict Roman rule.
In Matthew’s 27:11; Jesus was asked by Pilate, “Are you the king of the Jews?” His reply: “Yes, it is as you say.” Perhaps, more than an affirmation of Pilate’s inquiry, it was a sorrowful admission of the agonizing reality of what the Jews had tried to make of Him?
He had come as a servant riding on a donkey, while they preferred a King, possibly on a stallion; many unaware of the irony of their “Hosannas” during this “Triumphal Entry.” Israel had long preferred a King over an intercessor. Early on, as Samuel, their God-given intercessor was aging, rather than waiting on what God might otherwise have written into their destiny, the people’s pride demanded a King instead, “like all the other nations have.” (I Samuel 8:5 NIV).
As reflected in the Genesis story, God’s desire has always been relationship, fellowship, even intimacy. In fact, the sexual design for a man and a woman was that ideal expressed; though procreation was also of necessity. We as humans would in the sexual act, experience physically, and thus comprehend mentally, what God desired spiritually. True intimacy is discovered only in two places, marriage and worship.
The language around God’s garden walks in the cool of the day, were meant to romance mankind; as was the near erotic Song of Solomon. He is the groom, we are the bride, who needs a King?
Yet, within a few centuries of creation, religion would morph our relationship and the desire for status and kingship trump our need for intimacy with God.
Some things endure time; thus perhaps our present fantasy with royal weddings and princesses, even among those of us who have never experienced a monarchy. Likewise, we joyfully sing of King Jesus, while we struggle with our intimacy with God.
John the Revelator surely references the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” in Rev. 19:16. However, the context of that moment is quite different, as our Lord will then be returning to right man’s cruel wrongs, and administer a new Kingdom of absolute righteousness. In some way, the wicked who remain will get their wish for a King!
John clarifies, “with justice he judges and makes war.” This perhaps is not the Jesus whom God intended, but the reality of the “Saul” sinners demanded. This “babe of Bethlehem” has now become the Lion of Judah, who will right injustice and reestablish a true Kingdom of Peace.
Yet, those who choose companionship in this present world are counted as heirs with Christ in the future, and will only observe, though with an astonishment that silences heaven, the harsh judgment of that Day. A day that now seems much closer than when He first appeared.