Word spread like a 1st century group text – He’s coming!
Galileans who witnessed miracles and heard His teaching gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. They heard Jesus was on his way and grabbed palm branches to welcome the victor.
The crowd whose grieving turned to amazed rejoicing when Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb spread the word.
Curiosity seekers who had only heard of these miraculous signs lined the streets to meet him and sang out the well-known psalm.
Oh Lord, save us! O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar. Ps 118:25-26
Hopes ran high. Finally God ‘s rescue – His Anointed One, the true King! They welcomed this King because they trusted the God of justice who promised to crush evil. Their Roman oppressors demanded submission, fostered fear of opposition, and taxed them into mere subsistence.
They knew that living under a king, even King Jesus, meant complete submission and full allegiance. Pharaohs, kings, and emperors generally used their power to maintain power. They demanded absolute loyalty by force and fear. The ruler set the rules without discussion. Even many of Israel’s kings sought selfish grandeur and power over justice.
Living under a king means submission and full allegiance.
Most of us in the free democratic West can’t imagine life under a king. We prefer to call Jesus Lord rather than King, but the titles are interchangeable. Lord is not a respectful address like ‘sir.’
For us, obedience, surrender, and submission conjure negative images. Former slaves would agree. Those in abusive relationships, in forced labor, or who are trafficked comprehend the required submission and fear-induced surrender.
King Jesus differs from all other lords.
Unlike earthly kings, our Lord Jesus is good, just, compassionate, humble, and self-giving. He brought the Kingdom among the people, not over them. He welcomed everyone. He healed the outcast, restored community, and removed shame. Jesus’ powerful miracles served others, never himself.
The Kingdom of God upends the ways of other kingdoms.
Rather than consolidate power at the top, God invites us to participate in ruling the Kingdom and shares the same power that raised Christ from the dead with us.
He generously provides resources that flow through our hands to bring His love to all. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it belong to God. He calls us stewards of His Kingdom with two guidelines: love God over everything else and love others.
God’s Kingdom abhors oppression. The low are lifted high and those high on themselves are lowered. Paul teaches the church: Don’t seek your own good but seek the good of others. Kingdom citizens learn the difficult task of seeking good for our enemies.
Submitting to Lord Jesus sets us free.
Placing submit and free in the same thought presents a paradox. Following this perfect way gives freedom and blessings. Greed, envy, selfishness, and power hold us in bondage while choosing to invite the Spirit to transform us into God’s image brings freedom.
And unlike earthly kings, Jesus doesn’t force surrender or submission. He invites our love and loyalty which we express by submitting to His law of love. Jesus, of course, models loving servanthood and perfect submission for us to follow.
As we celebrate the King and enter Holy Week,
- Reflect on your current loyalties. (Loyalties can be what we fear losing – financial security, success, reputation, possessions, sports, family, control, personal happiness, or a well-planned future.)
- Consider what it would mean to make Jesus Lord of your life.
- Pray and ask God to reveal areas where you need to surrender control and submit to His perfect way.
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