Art Thou A King Then?

 

            The Jews of the first century were looking for a king.  They knew the promise that God had made to Abraham, repeated to Isaac, and the blessing pronounced upon Judah by Jacob at his death:

 

Genesis 49:1010The sceptre (the symbol of a ruler) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”

 

They knew the prophecy of Micah:

 

Micah 5:2 2But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

 

And

 

Micah 5:44And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.”

 

            But they misinterpreted and misapplied the Word of God.  They were looking for a physical king, a king to restore the power and grandeur of the kingdom of David and Solomon.  They were looking for someone to overthrow the yoke of Rome and remove them from Roman rule.  At one time in his ministry on earth many of the Jews were even ready to forcibly put him on David’s throne in Jerusalem.

 

John 6:1515When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”

 

            His disciples, even with all of his teaching, were looking for him to become their physical king:

 

Matthew 20:20-21 20Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.”


            His final entry into the city of Jerusalem was such as was reserved for the triumphant entry of a ruler.

 

Mark 11:9-109And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”  And also in Matthew 21.

 

            And when we study the gospel accounts we can readily see that much of the jealousy, envy, and hate that the chief priests, scribes, Pharisees and elders of the Jewish people had for Jesus was political in nature.  Political in nature because they saw him as a rival, one who was going to turn their world upside down, one who did not fit their perception of what the promised Messiah should be.

            This man did not behave as a man that would become their king.  He chose as his ambassadors Galilean fishermen, a tax collector and others from humble backgrounds.  He didn’t raise an army to make war.  We have nothing to tell us that his followers were ever armed except that one occasion in the garden.  Peter in defending Jesus cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest with a sword.  When taken before their judgment he made no protest, he offered no defense, he simply accepted whatever they chose to do to him just as the prophet had predicted so many years before:

 

Isaiah 53:77He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. “

 

            There is little wonder then that Pilate, when Jesus was brought to him for trial by the Jewish leaders would ask:

 

John 19:37  37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?...

 

            Are you a king then?  Your behavior isn’t what we expect from a king, are you a king then?  You stand accused of plotting against the ruling government of the country, but there is no evidence that you’ve done anything to try to overthrow Rome; are you a king then?  Indeed, Jesus what kind of kingdom are do you have?  How would be know it?  How would we recognize it?  How would we find it?  What characteristics do we look for to identify it?  Jesus answered Pilate’s question with, yes I am a king, and I do have a kingdom.

 

John 18:37 “…Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

 

In the balance of our time this morning, let’s look briefly at eight characteristics in prophecy and in history that show us that Jesus Christ is indeed a king and the ruler of his kingdom, the church/kingdom he pledged to build in Matthew 16:18-19:

 

            First the place where this kingdom was to be established:

 

In prophecy:

 

Zechariah 1:1616Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.”

 

Luke 24:4747And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

 

            Christ’s kingdom, the church, was to begin in Jerusalem, no other place in this world.  If the organization called a church of which you or any of your friends and neighbors are a part began in Rome, or Geneva, London, Amsterdam, or any other place on the face of this earth except Jerusalem then that organization is not the kingdom/church that Jesus built.  Because:

 

In history:

 

Acts 2:11And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”

 

            As Jesus had instructed them just before his ascension in Luke 24:45 ff and in John chapter 14, 15 and 16; they were to wait in Jerusalem for the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, that one who would guide them, that repentance and remission of sins might be preached among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.  This was a special time for it was in the midst of the feast of Pentecost, when all male members of the Jewish nation were to be in Jerusalem, and they were:

 

Acts 2:5  5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”


            So the kingdom or church of God began at a specific place, as God had planned.

 

            It also was to begin at a specific point in time.

 

In Prophecy:

 

Daniel 7:13-1413I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

 

            The prophet Daniel, as he records by the direct inspiration of God tells us that the kingdom that Jesus was to establish would never be destroyed.

 

Isaiah 2:177And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

 

            The Holy Spirit tells us through the prophet Isaiah that Jesus, the son of God will be exalted on that day above all others, above all men, above all kings before or after him, above all who ever will be.  And turning again to Daniel we find that these things are to come about after the Medes and Persians had over thrown Babylon, the Greeks had overthrown the Medes and Persians and Rome had overthrown the Greeks and were ruling this part of the world.  A specific time in the history of mankind, Christ would be given His kingdom, his kingdom that would stand forever:

 

Daniel 2:4444And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”

 

            And we find the confirmation in history, in the parables of Jesus during his ministry:

 

Luke 19:1212He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”

 

            A certain nobleman, a certain person who was a ruler, a specific person; Jesus Christ who left his home in the glory of God and went into a far country, the world to receive for himself a kingdom.

 

Acts 15:1616After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:”

 

James quoting Amos 9:11-12 declares that the time has come that the tabernacle or house of David that was fallen would be restored, raised up out of its ruins, build as of the day of old, but this time its not a physical house of brick, mortar and stone but rather a spiritual house, built by the Holy Spirit of the Godhead, according to the plan of God first promised to Eve through her seed in Genesis 3:15:

 

Acts 2:1717And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:”

 

And that specific time that the kingdom of Jesus Christ was established was the day of Pentecost, AD 33.

 

The Kingdom of Christ was to have come to be by a specific means; the escape of a remnant of the family of God escaping out of Mount Zion, on which stood the city of Jerusalem and added to by God those whom Jesus sanctified, purified

 

Isaiah 37:3232For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.

            And this remnant would increase and have no end, but would be established with judgment and justice forever.

 

Isaiah 9:77Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”

 

            And we find the record of this in history; Jesus provided the means of his kingdom’s coming to be by the redemption, purification and calling out of a peculiar people.

 

Titus 2:1414Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

 

            And the citizens of Christ’s kingdom are made up of those peculiar people, redeemed people, who through Christ Jesus have been turned away from their iniquities, to the physical seed of Abraham, Israel, first and then to the rest of the world:

 

Acts 3:25-2625Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. “

 

The kingdom of Jesus Christ was to be made of specific materials:

 

In prophecy – The fruit of those to whom the kingdom was to be given

 

Matthew 21:4343Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

 

            That remnant that was to escape from Jerusalem would bring forth fruit that would be added to that kingdom

 

Isaiah 37:3131And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:

 

This is confirmed in history:

 

            We are the fruit of the work of his apostles and disciples, even though it is centuries after these men lived their teaching is still bearing fruit, the authority that Jesus gave them is still being exercised to generate fruit by delivering us from the power of sin:

 

Colossians 1:1313Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

 

            We are brothers and sisters in Christ, the fruit of the teaching of others, just as was designated by John and by Paul:

 

Revelation 1:99I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

 

I Thessalonians 2:1414For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:”

 

Jesus’ Kingdom is of a specific nature; spiritual rather than physical:

 

            The kingdom of Jesus Christ would not be established by carnal warfare; the physical conquering of peoples of this earth but rather the winning of the spirits, minds and souls through a spiritual warfare.  The Jews of Jesus day who supposed that Jesus would rule a physical kingdom on this earth were wrong in their assumptions, the disciples who asked for the honor of sitting on this right and left hand to rule a physical kingdom were wrong in their assumptions, those today that teach that Jesus will return to earth because he failed to set up his kingdom as planned to reign a thousand years on earth are mistaken in their application of scripture.

 

In prophecy:

 

Isaiah 2:44And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

 

John 18:3636Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

 

In history:

 

I John 2:2929If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Hebrews 1:88But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

 

Romans 14:1717For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

 

            The kingdom of God is righteousness, those who are righteous, those who do right things in the sight of God, It is a spiritual kingdom made up of the souls of men that will travel to a spiritual home when they leave this earth behind.

 

The Kingdom of Jesus has a body of law:

 

In prophecy:

 

Jeremiah 31:3333But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

            God will make a covenant with his people, a covenant that will replace the covenants made with Abraham and with Israel.  That covenant will consist of a body of law that God’s people are to follow; the directions and prescription of that righteous living that we noted just a moment ago.

 

Isaiah 2:33And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”

 

            This covenant, or body of law, will begin at the mountain of the Lord, in the house of Jacob, it will be sent forth from the mount of Zion, the city of Jerusalem, the place where the kingdom of Christ began 2000 years ago.

 

In History:

 

Luke 24:47  47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”


            In the history of man, Jesus taught his disciples that this body of law would be preached should be preached in his name among all nations beginning at Jerusalem.  It was carried throughout the entire world in 30-35 years about one generation as Paul confirms in Colossians 1:23.

            The old body of law given to the nation of Israel, and the nation of Israel only has been replaced by the body of law given by the Son of God to all mankind for all time going forward from his death, burial and resurrection.

 

Hebrews 8:8-108For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”

 

            If we have His laws in our minds, if we have His laws written in our hearts then He will be to us a God, and we will be to Him a people, a kingdom, and we will submit to His rule, we will bow our proud heads to His will.

 

The Kingdom of God, of necessity, has a King, His Son Jesus Christ:

 

In prophecy:

 

Luke 1:31-3331And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

 

            That king was born of the seed of woman as promised in Genesis 3:15, in the village of Bethlehem as prophesied in Micah 5:2.

 

Psalms 2:6-7 “YET HAVE I SET MY KING UPON MY HOLY HILL OF ZION.  I WILL DECLARE THE DECREE THE LORD HATH SAID UNTO ME, THOU art MY SON; THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN THEE.”

 

            God has set His Son, His King in place on the holy hill of Zion and he rules today as prophesied by David.  In history Paul confirms David’s words in his sermon to the church at Antioch of Pisidia and Luke records the occasion for our benefit:

 

Acts 13:3333God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”

 

            This kingdom that Jesus rules will be delivered up to God, His father in the last day, at the day of judgment, a people redeemed, prepared for eternity in a place prepared by Christ as promised in John 14:2.

 

I Corinthians 15:24-2524Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”

 

            Christ’s kingdom, the church, those that have been added as its citizens by God through their obedience to his covenant.  That kingdom that Jesus said he would build in Matthew 16:18 and gave the Apostle Peter the keys to open; keys that Peter used on that Pentecost Sunday in AD 33 when he preached the first gospel sermon to the Jews gathered at Jerusalem.  Are you a citizen of that kingdom?  Has God added you as a citizen to his kingdom?  If not then repent of your sins as Jesus tells us in Luke 13:3, confess his name as he requires in Matthew 10:32 and be baptized washing away your sins as Paul did in Acts 22:16.  Or if you are a citizen but have not been faithful and need to go to God in prayer for public sin then come.