In the previous article of this series, I discussed the nature and coming of the Kingdom of God and what that means for Christians today. You should already note that for every kingdom there is a king. Throughout history, we’ve read about kings, their leadership, their conquests, and even bits about their personal lives. Despite their power, control and conquests, every king or world leader has clay feet. He is a mere man, fallible, imperfect, bound to fail in many areas or he may outright be a despot terrorizing his subjects.
Throughout the history of Israel’s kings (1 & 2 Kings; 1 & 2 Chronicles), we see just that – the inability of man to perfectly lead and sustain his territory and people to permanent places of peace and prosperity. Even Israel’s greatest King, David, a man after God’s own heart, had notable sins (2 Samuel 12). However, in God’s providence and kindness, He predestined that He would set His king on His throne to rule His people forever. God’s kingdom would be one that would be characterized by justice and righteousness (Isaiah 9:6-7) contrasting the injustice, imperfections and sometimes evil that characterizes earthly kings. In 2 Samuel 7:12-13, God made this promise to King David –
12 When your (David) days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Who is this King?
Early on in his gospel, Matthew makes it clear in two ways that Jesus is the promised king spoken of in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the covenant God made with David in 2 Samuel 7.
The first way that Matthew begins to unfold the true identity of Jesus Christ is by recording Jesus’ genealogy. In fact, Matthew begins his gospel with these words –
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
In the very first verse of the first chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is noted as the son of David, the son of Abraham. The genealogy then goes on to detail forty two generations from Abraham to Christ. For this article, the significance is noting that Jesus was a son or descendant of King David. Humanly speaking, Jesus came from David’s body, but what else does the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7 note? It says that God would establish His kingdom and not only that, but that kingdom would last forever. What we need to note about this covenant is that it is fulfilled in two different ways. The second aspect of the covenant stated that an offspring of David would build God a house (temple) for His name. Scripture tells us that David desired to build a temple, but was forbidden by the LORD. So when was this fulfilled? We know Jesus didn’t build or oversee the building of any temple, so who built God’s house / temple? 1 Chronicles 22:6-19 records a conversation that reveals that David’s son, Solomon, was to build the temple and we see Solomon overseeing the construction of the temple in 1 Kings 6. So think of it this way – in Solomon, there was immediate fulfillment (the building of the temple) and in Christ there is a later and an ultimate fulfillment (the establishment of an eternal kingdom with Christ as king). In Revelation 22:16, Jesus Christ attests that He is the son of David.
The second way that Matthew reveals the identity of Jesus as God’s promised king is by quoting the question of the magi – “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2) and by quoting Micah 5:2 in Matthew 2:6 pointing to Christ’s fulfillment of that ancient prophecy –
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Almost 2 chapters in of Matthew’s gospel we see that Jesus is (1) the son of David (2) recognized as a king by pagan magi and noted as the fulfillment of Micah 5:2.
As Matthew’s gospel continues to unfold, it becomes more apparent that Jesus Christ, though often misunderstood, is God’s chosen King to which He often admitted or others recognized (Matthew 7:21; 13:41; 16:19; 16:28; 20:21; 21:5; 25:31-46). The other gospels present the same picture of Jesus. Specifically Jesus’ angelic announcement details Him being the promised offspring of David who would rule forever (Luke 1:30-33). The Bible culminates revealing Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords ruling the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 1:5; 11:15; 15:3; 17:14; 19:16; 22:1-3).
The King’s Subjects and their Response
The subjects of the King, Jesus Christ, are Christians. Christians are those who have been born again by the Spirit and have responded with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. They also, as previously mentioned, are the ones who have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Beloved Son (Colossians 1:13). As subjects, the Christian’s response is worship and faith, evidenced by obedience and ongoing repentance of sin (Matthew 7:24-27; John 14:15-24; 15:1-11). Devotion to Christ must supersede all other relationships and is very costly (Luke 14:25-33), but not without the promise of great reward – namely Himself (Psalm 16:11)!
Unlike earthly kings, Jesus humbled himself and served us (Mark 10:45) so that He could free us from the reign of Satan’s and sin’s power. Being Christ’s subject is to experience true love, freedom and joy because it reconciles us to our God who longs to do us good and be our all satisfying joy.
It is imperative for all of us to understand that when we’ve been redeemed by Christ, we are to live a life that progressively displays His Lordship over every area of our lives. That is the right response to this King by His subjects.
Grace & Peace,