Category: (7) Jesus the Exalted King


Because of man’s sin and the subsequent curse that poisoned the perfection of God’s creation, the world is often a dangerous place. People suffer every day from natural disasters, crime, car accidents, poor health, and more. It’s natural to seek protection from the pain and sorrow of life. Does the Bible promise us the protection of God when we become part of His eternal family?

There are many verses in God’s Word that seem to promise God’s physical protection. For example, Psalm 121:3 says, “He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.” In verse 7 the psalmist declares, “The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life.” As Israel entered the Promised Land, God promised them that He would never leave or forsake them (Deuteronomy 31:6).

At first glance, it does seem that God promises to protect His children from harm. But if that were the case, why do so many Christians around the world struggle with persecution, illness, loss, accidents, and injuries? We all know Christians whose “foot” has “slipped.” Is God breaking His promise, or are we missing something?

First of all, we should interpret the Old Testament promises of physical safety in the context of the Mosaic Covenant. As the children of Israel were obedient to the covenant, God promised them various material and physical blessings—on their crops, livestock, children, etc. (Deuteronomy 28). The Old Covenant was very much concerned with earthly blessings, and physical protection was among them. This was the basis for Hezekiah’s prayer when he was smitten with a fatal illness (2 Kings 20:1–6). Throughout the Old Testament, we see God protecting His people in order to bring His plans to pass (e.g., Exodus 1:22—2:10; 1 Kings 17:1–6; Jonah 1).

It is important to understand that we are under the New Covenant, not the Old. God does not promise to keep believers in Christ from all physical harm. There are certainly times when He does mercifully shield us from situations where we would sustain injury or loss. Paul and Luke’s survival of the shipwreck in Acts 27 and Paul’s imperviousness to the snakebite in Acts 28 are cases in point. Today, however, God’s promises to believers usually refer to spiritual protection.

When we believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit immediately enters our lives. We are sealed for eternity and brought under God’s spiritual protection from that moment on. This means that, regardless of our future sins or the schemes of Satan, we will never lose the salvation God has granted (2 Timothy 1:12). There is nothing that can ever separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38–39). In addition, we are given freedom from the dominion of sin—we are no longer slaves to sinful thoughts, desires, and actions, but are born into a new life of holiness (Romans 6:22).

Throughout our lives, God will continue to “guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7), providing the strength, peace, and perseverance we need to make it through any test or trial. His Spirit grows in us fruit that will strengthen our Christian walk (Galatians 5:22–23), and He provides us with powerful tools with which we can fend off the enemy’s spiritual attacks (Ephesians 6:10–17).

There is nothing wrong with asking for physical protection from God, as long as we realize He does not always see fit to grant it. He knows we are strengthened by the trials that come our way, and in each physical trial, we are assured of His spiritual protection. So, rather than seeking complete physical protection from God, we can agree with James when He says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2–3).

The phrase “king of kings” is used in Scripture six times, three of which refer to the Lord Jesus (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16). The other three (Ezra 7:12; Ezekiel 26:7; Daniel 2:37) refer to either Artaxerxes or Nebuchadnezzar, kings who used the phrase to express their absolute sovereignty over their respective realms (Persia and Babylon). The phrase “lord of lords” is used in Scripture five times, and only referring to God (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16). Used together, the two phrases refer only to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1 Timothy 6, Paul is wrapping up his letter to Timothy, telling him to fight the good fight and keep his profession of faith. He tells Timothy that he’s to do this “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,” whom he subsequently refers to as “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion.” The title is used to indicate someone who has the power to exercise absolute dominion over all His realm. In the case of the Lord Jesus, the realm is all of creation. Paul labors to emphasize the solitary nature of Christ’s rule, calling Him the “only” Sovereign, who is “alone” and “unapproachable.” The rule of Jesus is unique and above that of all other rulers.

The other two uses of the phrase, those in Revelation, refer to the final conquest and return of Jesus. The implication is that in the end all other rules will be conquered or abolished, and He alone will reign supreme as King and Lord of all creation and creatures. There is no power, no king, and no lord who can oppose Him and win. There are myriad references to this absolute rule of Jesus, and His preeminence over other rulers, all throughout Scripture, some subtle, some overt. To mention just a few, Isaiah 40:23-24 says that the Lord brings “princes to nothing” and makes earth’s rulers “emptiness.” The mere breath of the Lord will “carry them off like stubble.” Daniel’s vision of the son of man in Daniel 7:13-14 is of one whom he calls “the Ancient of Days” whose everlasting dominion is over all people, nations and languages. In the New Testament, we get a better view of whom these passages refer to when the writer of Hebrews speaks of the Lord Jesus: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). The next verse speaks of Jesus being “much superior” to the angels. Clearly, His rule over creation is absolute.

Paul makes the point that this rule is derived from Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. In Philippians 2:5-11, he discusses the extent to which Jesus went to atone for sinners and concludes that this is the reason that “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (vv. 9-11).

Finally, in the book of Revelation we see the Kingship of Jesus made manifest. In chapter 5, the Lamb (Jesus) is the only one in all creation found worthy to open the scroll containing the judgments of God (vv. 2-5). In chapter 11, we hear voices in heaven proclaiming that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of Christ, and that He will reign forever and ever (v. 15). In chapter 12, we read that the authority of Christ is what causes Satan to be thrown down to earth (vv. 9-10). In chapter 17:12-14, the Lamb conquers all those arrayed against Him, and John stresses that He conquers because He is King of kings and Lord of lords. Finally, in chapter 19, we read of His triumphant coming to strike the nations and tread the winepress of the wrath of God, having the authority to do so because He is King of kings and Lord of lords (vv. 11-16).

Fundamentally, the idea of Jesus being King of kings and Lord of lords means that there is no higher authority. His reign over all things is absolute and inviolable. God raised Him from the dead and placed Him over all things, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:21-23).

The original thanksgiving celebration was held by the Pilgrim settlers in Massachusetts during their second winter in America in December, 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. At one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn apiece, but then an unexpected trading vessel arrived, swapping them beaver pelts for corn, providing for their severe need. The next summer’s crop brought hope, and Governor William Bradford decreed that December 13, 1621, be set aside as a day of feasting and prayer to show the gratitude of the colonists that they were still alive.

These Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America, gave thanks to God for His provision for them in helping them find 20 acres of cleared land, for the fact that there were no hostile Indians in that area, for their newfound religious freedom, and for God’s provision of an interpreter to the Indians in Squanto. Along with the feasting and games involving the colonists and more than 80 friendly Indians (who added to the feast by bringing wild turkeys and venison), prayers, sermons, and songs of praise were important in the celebration. Three days were spent in feasting and prayer.

From that time forward, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a day to give thanks to God for His gracious and sufficient provision. President Abraham Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November, in 1863, “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.

Scripturally, we find things related to the issue of thanksgiving nearly from cover to cover. Individuals offered up sacrifices out of gratitude in the book of Genesis. The Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharaoh’s army after the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15). Later, the Mosaic Law set aside three times each year when the Israelites were to gather together. All three of these times [Unleavened Bread (also called the Feast of the Passover) (Exodus 12:15-20), Harvest or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-21), and the Feast of Ingathering or Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36)] involved remembering God’s provision and grace. Harvest and Tabernacles took place specifically in relation to God’s provision in the harvest of various fruit trees and crops. The book of Psalms is packed full of songs of thanksgiving, both for God’s grace to the Israelite people as a whole through His mighty deeds, as well as for His individual graces to each of us.

In the New Testament, there are repeated admonitions to give thanks to God. Thanksgiving is to always be a part of our prayers. Some of the most remembered passages on the giving of thanks are the following:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

Of all of God’s gifts, the greatest one He has given is the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus paid our sin debt, so a holy and just Judge could forgive us our sins and give us eternal life as a free gift. This gift is available to those who will call on Christ to save them from their sin in simple but sincere faith (John 3:16; Romans 3:19-26; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8-10). For this gift of His Son, the gift which meets our greatest need, the Apostle Paul says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

We, like the Pilgrims, have a choice. In life there will always be those things that we can complain about (the Pilgrims had lost many loved ones), but there will also be much to be thankful for. As our society becomes increasingly secular, the actual “giving of thanks to God” during our annual Thanksgiving holiday is being overlooked, leaving only the feasting. May God grant that He may find us grateful every day for all of His gifts, spiritual and material. God is good, and every good gift comes from Him (James 1:17). For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good (Romans 8:28-30). May He find us to be His grateful children.

May the God of Abraham,  Isaac and Jacob continue to bless you and yours – may His Grace and Love forever cause you to Rejoice and give thanks to Him who provides so much.

Yours in Christ;

Michael

This week, our understanding of the Lord Jesus has deepened. First, we learned of His unique virgin birth and sinless life. Then, we marveled at His miracles that proved Jesus had the power of God. Next, we read the teachings of Jesus, the Word of God (John 1:1).

The perfect Jesus did not deserve death, the punishment for sin that the rest of humankind deserves. But on day 4, we were surprised to learn that Jesus prophesied His own death. God’s wrath against sin fell on Jesus—the Lamb of God died to take the punishment for believing sinners.

Because of His perfect sacrifice, God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead and honors Him above all:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Why will all people one day bow to Jesus? He is King of kings and Lord of lords!

Jesus’ kingdom
“Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’

“‘You are a king then!’ said Pilate.

“Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’” (John 18:36-37).

Jesus’ last words and ascension to heaven
“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations. . . .’

“Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God” (Luke 24:45-53).

Who is this Jesus? We know He is the perfect Man, Miracle Worker, true Prophet, faithful Teacher, only Savior, and resurrected Lord, but only God should be worshipped. Unless Jesus is God the Son, the disciples sinned in worshipping Him. If Jesus is God, He must be worshipped!

Jesus is the one way to the Father and paradise
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He assured His disciples that He would come back one day to take all true believers in Jesus to paradise.

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s [God’s] house [paradise] are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’

“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

‘If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’

“Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves’” (John 14:1-11).

Jesus did not claim that He, a man, had become God. He testified that He was God’s Son become man! Jesus is fully God and fully man in one Person.

Even before the world was created, Jesus was always with God and was God (John 1:1-18). God is one God in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20).

As the God-Man, Jesus is the only One who could and did live a perfect life, die in the place of believing sinners, and rise from the dead to show His victory over sin and death.

Jesus will come again to execute judgment
“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering – since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

How can you join Jesus’ kingdom?
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel” (Colossians 1:13-23a).

Every one of us has sinned against the holy God (Romans 3:23). We’ve broken God’s laws such as these:

• Loving God above all (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37)
• Loving neighbor as oneself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39)
• Honoring parents (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4)
• Not committing adultery or lust (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:28)

We deserve sin’s punishment—separation from God by eternal death in hell (Romans 6:23). Good deeds cannot save us because even one sin requires judgment by the just Judge (James 2:10; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; Revelation 20:11-15).

Because of God’s great love, He sacrificed His own Son on the cross in the place of believing sinners (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Jesus rose from the dead, proving His victory over sin and death. Jesus is Savior, Lord, King, God. He said, “. . . unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24b).

If God is showing you your sin and need of Jesus, repent, turning from your sin and own way of trying to please God. Believing Scripture’s truth about Who Jesus is and what He did, trust Jesus as your Savior from sin and follow Him as Lord.