Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” 3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
In Matthew one, we talked about Jesus being our SAVIOR and our IMMANUEL, God’s presence with us. Today, LORD willing, we will speak to another facet of our wondrous Messiah. Jesus did come to save us and He pitched His tent among us. He became a human and lived a fully human life. But although Jesus is fully human; He is not merely human. Today, we want to talk about Jesus our KING.
When you hear the word Messiah, what is the first word that pops into your mind? Probably Savior. Jesus did come in the first advent to be our SAVIOR. So when we Gentiles think Messiah, we think SAVIOR but with the Jews it is different. They do not think the way we think. When they hear the term Messiah, they think KING. They were not looking for a suffering servant wearing the garb of a Galilean Carpenter; they were waiting for a Greater than David to drive the Romans out and make Israel a dominant power in the world.
We often judge them for their mistake but we are in danger of making a similar mistake. We Westerner have no concept of a king or a kingdom and Jesus is coming back to earth and this time as a KING. He came first as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world but we He comes again, He will come as the Lion of Judah who will rule the kingdoms of this world. Every knee will bow to King Jesus. He will rule all of God’s creation.
Matthew’s Gospel refers to Jesus as a KING 29 times. Today, I want to focus on chapter two. By way of introduction: notice the contrast between the two kings mentioned in Matthew 2, Herod, known as the Great and Jesus, known as the King of the Jews. It is an interesting contrast:
- Herod was appointed by Rome–Jesus was Anointed by the Father
- Herod was king for an area for a time–Jesus is KING of all creation for eternity.
- Herod became a king–Jesus was born a KING.
- Herod was diabolically evil–Jesus is infinitely Good.
- Herod ruled by force and fear–Jesus rules by love and grace.
- Herod was a mad-mad–Jesus is the God-Man.
- Herod was a liar and a murderer–Jesus is truth and life.
I have so much I want to say about the KING of kings but I have narrowed my thoughts for your sake to three simple points.
I. EVERYBODY HAS A KING--a king is a male sovereign or monarch; a man who holds by life tenure, and usually by hereditary right, the chief authority over a country and people.
Your king may not be a person but there is something in your life that is preeminent. Something that takes precedence over everything else. Herod the Great was named king of the Jews in 40 B.C. but he was not every one’s king. He was king to the religious establishment that headquartered in Jerusalem but he was not everyone’s king. The Wise Men did not come to worship Herod, they came to worship Jesus. They acknowledged Jesus King but they paid no homage to Herod.
You will bow before some king: it could be a malevolent Herod or a benevolent Jesus. You may even worship yourself and declare yourself king. George McDonald the Scottish preacher who influenced C.S. Lewis said, “The central conviction of hell is I am my king.”
Everyone in Matthew two had a king: Herod worshipped himself, the Jewish religious establishment served Herod as did most of the populous. The wise men bowed to Jesus as did the shepherds along with others. Everyone has a king; something or someone they bow to, give homage to. Who is your king?
II. EVERYBODY NEEDS A KING
I can just about read your mind…”Wait a minute preacher, I am a red blooded American and my forefathers found a war so we could be free of kings who most often become tyrants. Whereas it is very true that the history of kings is not good; a bright spot here and there they we tend to idolize. For the Jews, it was David, the shepherd king, a man after God own heart but you and I know that David was not the perfect king. He was not the Messiah.
You will recall that the Israelites begged Samuel for a king and he did not want to grant their wish. God told him, “Don’t take it personal, they are not rebelling against you, they are rebelling against me their true King.” God had the plan in place to send Israel a true KING but they would not wait.
Democracy is medicine not food. We humans choose it because we have discovered that among mere men, no one is fit to rule. As our forefathers stated clearly, “Absolute power, absolutely corrupts.” Man is totally depraved and for this reason, he makes a poor ruler. As Micah the prophet foretold, God would send a ruler who would be a shepherd to Israel.
We are sheep and we need a shepherd. We actually need someone to guide and protect us. We need a KING, a good KING, a loving KING with infinite power and wisdom. Jesus is the KING we need. The God who created us, designed us with a need for a KING but the KING we need is Jesus.
Jeffery Smock was a writer for the New York times, by his own confession, he voted for Obama believing that Obama would become his savior. Smock was dying with AIDS and he believed the all caring Obama would put together a task force that would come up with a cure for AIDS. It did not happen and Smock died in disappointment. Wise Men worship Jesus, not the Herods of this world.
III. EVERYBODY DOES NOT AGREE THAT JESUS IS THE KING WE NEED
Most people believe in God as long as they get to define the god they believe in. Few people in America are offended by a loving God who allows everyone into heaven but this is not what Scripture teaches. God is holy, He hates sin and He demands repentance. We must acknowledge our sins and bow to the sovereign will of His Son. The world system as describes in Psalms 2 hates this idea, they rebel against the idea of being God’s possession and bowing to His Anointed [Jesus].
The world we live in is filled with Jesus haters. The world He was born into was filled with Jesus haters. Herod hated Him without even knowing Him. He tried to kill Him. The Jewish religious establishment hated Jesus.
We go to great lengths to avoid Jesus. The world figured out a long time ago, the way to avoid Jesus is to avoid sin so we have religious folks like the Pharisees who don’t see a need for Jesus. The Rich Young Ruler was attempting to be good enough that he did not need Jesus. Religious is an effort to avoid Jesus and surrender to His sovereign rule.
We Westerners don’t get it but the idea of a King involves subordination. We are filled with pride and we refuse to be subject to anyone. Jesus demands submission. He said, “If anyone wants to follow me, he must deny himself.” Would you today by your free will make Him your sovereign. Ultimately He is what He is but today He gives you the opportunity to confess Him as your Savior and Sovereign.
Psalms begins like this…Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? 2 The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. 3 “Let us break their chains,” they cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
Some translations say, “break the cords” but the idea is fetters, chains, rope, cords, to be bound, tied up. The world is in rebellion against the LORDSHIP of Jesus Christ, they do not want to be in the yoke with HIM. They see the yoke as bondage but in truth, the yoke leads to freedom. It is in submitting to Christ that we find what are hearts long for. When we reach the point that we want His will for His glory, we make the discovery that His will is what we wanted all along, we just didn’t know it.
Brent is a musician. He doesn’t just come in here and play all these instruments on the stage. He practices for hours upon hours. I don’t think anyone makes him, he just does it. Is the music a yoke to Brent. Is music ropes that bind and enslave him? No, he finds his refuge in music. There was a time in my life that bible reading seemed like a yoke but not anymore: it is my refuge. I love my Quiet Time.