May 27, 2020, 2:18 PM
Gentile mages (kings), astrologers by profession, travelled all the way from the East to Jerusalem to salute the King of the Jews -- baby Jesus. They had followed an exceptionally bright star to the place where Jesus was, bringing with them gifts of gold (which signified royalty) along with frankincense and myrrh. Upon arrival at their destination, they asked: “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:3) Strangely enough the birth of this saintly figure whose life would impact, and still influences the affairs of the world, had gone largely unnoticed until these mages alluded to the event.
Prophet Isaiah however had prophesied 800 years before its occurrence in these terms: “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish it.” (Isaiah 9:5-7)
Half way through His ministry, Jesus sounded His disciples to find out what people were saying about Him. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets,” (Matthew 15:13-14) Notice that the people did not have a clue who Jesus was then and even today people do fathom what He represents in our world. He has not changed; He is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:9)
As it was in those days, it still is now. Some people still refer to Jesus as a prophet -- the One of whom the Father spoke as His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased (Luke 3:22b) and instructed us to listen to Him (Matthew 17:5b). Jesus, the one who created the world in His capacity as the WORD of God and who came to this earth in the flesh, born of a virgin?
Jesus is the Miracle-working God who spoke to fish and Peter and his brother after they have toiled all night and had caught nothing but after obeying His instructions pulled in a net-breaking catch; the One who fed 5,000 people not counting women and children using five loaves and two fish; the One who gave the blind their sight and healed the sick and the demon-possessed -- is more than a prophet. He is the Messiah.
Prophet Isaiah prophesied of Him thus: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18-19)
The disciples’ response was a far cry from who Jesus stands for, so He probed them further with a direct question: “But what about you? Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15) The answer came as a revelation to Peter confirming Jesus’ identity. “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (verse 16).
Jesus then made a declaration; “And I tell you that you are Peter, (Petros, a little rock) and on this rock, [a boulder stone] I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18) The word that translates church in the Greek is ‘Ecclesia’ (meaning a state, a group of people appointed by the king to carry out the king’s will in his territory.)
Only kings possess territories but Jesus is not an earthly King. His kingdom is not of this world but in heaven. On diverse occasions in the course of His ministry, He defined by means of parables the characteristic of His state (His Church) and His government (His rule) and how it operates.
No wonder when He stood before the court the Pharisees and Sadducees had set up to judge Him as an upstart, one who caused trouble, He did not utter a word. The religious authorities were disqualified to judge a king. On the contrary, when He was brought before Pilate who asked Him “Are you the King of the Jews?” Conscious of Pilate’s status He replied: “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:33; 38) Jesus is King.
He further said to Pilate, “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 18:37) At another instance when Pilate questioned Him and He did not respond, Pilate cautioned Him: “Do You refuse to speak to me? Don’t you realise I have power to either to free You or to crucify you?” (John 19:10)
Jesus answered Pilate in these terms: “You have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:11) After this exchange, Pilate knew the person he had been dealing with was indeed royalty. Despite the protests from the religious authorities He hung an inscription in Aramaic, Latin and Greek which read: “Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.”
Amidst the mounting protests from the Jewish authorities, Pilate shelved the matter by declaring “What I have written I have written.” (John 19:22)
Jesus is still alive. He conquered death that we also might live forever. He is seated at the right of God, the Father, interceding for all those who believe in His name. All kingdoms will come to an end. Jesus’ kingdom will never end, it continues even beyond death. Do not be left out!