We don’t hear a lot about kings in our society.
If you’re a Canadian under age 62, you’ve never sung God save the King, only God Save the Queen (if that). The royal family had a really big profile boost in 2013 with the birth of Prince George. Among other things, it awakened many to realize that the next three monarchs of Canada will likely be Kings, not Queens. We’ll have to get used to that language again, as well as kings on the back of our money, and perhaps less press coverage about what hat our sovereign happens to be wearing.
Have you ever thought of Jesus as a king? Titles like King of Kings, King of the Jews are used all the time. Or perhaps you’ve seen images that show Jesus in a crown, holding a scepter and other royal symbols.
A lot of that imagery is based on our more recent experiences of royalty, like the British monarchy, rather than the kind of people called kings in Jesus’ day. When we hear Jesus is a king, we envision certain attributes like crowns and jewels that may not be accurate.
As 21st century Canadians, we probably also miss a lot of the meaning and power in this title. Jesus as king didn’t mean he was a titular head of state, a ceremonial figure with little real power or connection to people’s everyday life.
And they certainly aren’t true in Jesus’ case. When he people called him a king, they referred not to a distant ceremonial figure, but a powerful ruler with an everyday impact on their safety and livelihood.
If you lived in his realm, you would show respect to him with words and actions, like paying a tax, giving up your land and property when needed, supporting military endeavours, and more. In return, you might enjoy protection from foreign attack, relative peace within the realm, good government, and whatever other benefits the king’s administration might confer.
If you didn’t like this, you had a few choices. You could go into exile, and leave the realm. You could actively rebel against the king, through violent conflict or sabotage, risking your own life in the process.
He was a king unlike any other, and is still a king unlike any other. He had some of these properties, and not others.
Question: What characteristics of a king do you think Jesus possessed, and which ones did he avoid?
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]