Is Jesus Really King?
God is Friend, Father, Savior, Hope, Peacemaker, Creator. But King? What does it mean to submit our lives under the ruling of King Jesus?
There were rumors about this man, this newly appointed king of Israel. He was the descendant of the king that everyone knew to be “a man after God’s own heart.” Full of wisdom and strength of mind, it was believed that he led his kingdom with a fervor like no other king before him, and it showed in the abundance of wealth and joy amid the kingdom and its people.
Visiting from the southern-most parts of Arabia, the Queen of Sheba decided she must see for herself whether this man really was what all the rumors made him out to be. She rode in on camels with a large amount of riches in her caravan. Upon dining with King Solomon, the Queen asked him extensive questions as a way to test his knowledge.
“She said to the king, ‘The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.’” (1 Kings 10:6-9)
The Queen did not live under the reign of Solomon, but she was astonished by his wisdom and the grace his God had lavished upon him and his kingdom. Her response was to give glory, honor, and as many riches as she could bestow on him—approximately 4.5 tons of gold, a large amount of spices, and precious stones. She recognized his kingship as something to be praised, honored, glorified, lifted up, and something to submit herself under. That’s what a good king inspires within us.
I recently attended a local women’s event, and we sang powerful worship songs together, ending the set with All Hail King Jesus.
As I considered Jesus—who he was, who he promises to be, who he has been for me, who he is right beside me still—I considered how I see God regularly. Friend. Savior. Father. Hope. Peacemaker. Creator.
As I’ve reflected on kingship through reading 1 & 2 Chronicles and 1 & 2 Kings, God has revealed to me yet another part of his character that I’ve not seen clearly before. There is an honor, respect, life-dedicating posture, faith, and trust placed in the kings of those times—often because of the faithfulness that their King in Heaven showed the kings that came before them.
The people of these kingdoms put their lives in the hands of their earthly kings because they could see the faithfulness of the God of Israel shining through their leadership. Obviously, because of the time period and culture, there was also a natural expectation to serve the king that was ordained over the land you lived in.
King Solomon’s story stands out for many reasons, but namely, that when the Lord asked him what he wanted to be successful in his kingdom, the response wasn’t about riches and armies to show off wealth and strength.
“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9)
The Queen of Sheba recognized his intentions and his heart of seeking the Kingdom of God before his own so that he could lead his earthly kingdom better. She believed it so much when she visited him that she praised him verbally, praised the God of the Israelites, and praised Solomon through the gift of her riches. It’s not unlikely to believe she became a changed leader herself. She very well could have gone back to her people, shared the joys she had witnessed, and adjusted her own way of ruling accordingly.
Because when we recognize an out-of-this-world kind of wisdom and leadership that is worth believing and following, we are changed from the inside out.
We so naturally follow “kings” of this world when we see that their lives are more than just riches and fame. How much more should I be confident in putting my life in the hands of the King who created life, conquered death, cares for his children, and comes to live with us daily?
Following "kings" of this world leads to division. "Then the people of Israel were divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; the other half followed Omri." (1 Kings 16:21)
When we choose to follow earthly leaders as if they carry the weight of glory that our heavenly king does, division is immanent. Only one Kingdom can unite.
I have dedicated my writing to portraying the truth of Scripture and who Jesus is as THE Truth, but I’m not sure I always submit myself to his kingship. As the words of the song washed over me at that event, I was struck with how much I continuously hold back from hailing King Jesus over my life, my words, my relationships, and my choices.
There was a moment when the sky lit up
A flash of light breaking through
When all was lost He crossed eternity
The King of life was on the move
For in a dark cold tomb
Where our Lord was laid
One miraculous breath
And we're forever changed
All hail, King Jesus
All hail the Lord of heaven and earth
All hail, King Jesus
All hail the Savior of the world
I won’t lie to you—it feels a little weird to say these words in our current American post-postmodern culture that claims self as god and shuns any form of kingship. But without a king to turn to, we’re left to our own wayward leadership that has proved time and time again to be untrustworthy.
When I look back at my own life, at the lives of those throughout history, and at the life of God in human flesh, I can’t help but find a trustworthy King worth submitting my life to and living under the ruling of—because God’s kingdom offers freedom, grace, life, and love at no cost to us.