Jesus is King, not some kind of advisor

Jesus is King, not some kind of advisor

Jesus is the King of the whole world. That is the essence of the gospel. When you look for the shortest expression of the gospel in the Bible, it is “Jesus is Lord” (1 Cor 12:3, 2 Cor 4:5). Jesus is God’s chosen King, the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the one with all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt 28:16). This is something Christians sing about and are familiar with; it is comforting to know that we worship the One who has power over everything.

Part of the reason we don’t feel the weight of this truth is that most of us don’t live in modern-day kingdoms. We are governed by a prime minister, or a president, and a government of elected representatives of the people. Although we respect these people as put there by God (Romans 13), we have some power over them. We can choose not to re-elect them. We can dispute their decisions that we disagree with.

Living in a kingdom under God’s chosen king, by contrast, is illustrated for us in the books of 1 and 2 Kings in the Old Testament. The king’s commands are not advice or recommendations. Those who rebel against the king are killed (as happens in 1 Kings 2). Instructions that are given are carried out, even if they are unpopular. A citizen of a kingdom doesn’t get to vote the king out. They might privately disagree with some law or instruction, but they are bound to carry it out.

If Jesus is our King, and not only our Saviour, that has to translate into our modern lives as Christians. We are servants of God’s King, citizens of the kingdom of heaven. That means that we are bound to obey the instructions of our King. When we read the Bible or have it explained to us, what we hear are not advice we can take or leave. No, they are instructions that we need to take seriously.

This has a few important implications.

Firstly, it means that we need to know what our King would have of us. Too many Christians are ignorant of the Bible’s teaching. God has told us what he is like and how to live in response; we need to listen. To listen, we need to know the Bible. Otherwise, it is like trying to learn how to drive, having never read anything about it or having never had anyone show us how to do it. Don’t just guess what God wants from us; he has already told us. We need to listen.

Secondly, it means that we cannot pick and choose the bits of God’s instructions we like. It is easy to agree with gusto that we are saved by grace and God is kind to us beyond what we deserve. It is harder to hold to the clear Biblical position of homosexuality or to take service in church as seriously as the apostles take it. Jesus says that if we love him, we will obey his commandments (John 14:15). Love is shown in obedience. Not in some vague agreement that Jesus is a good guy. Obeying what God reveals in the Bible is showing love to Jesus.

Don’t settle for seeing Jesus as an advisor we can agree with or not, or a president or prime minister we can ignore when we feel like it. Jesus is the King. He outlines how we should live, the views we should hold on many issues, and even what our priorities and aims in life should be. Let’s listen well and show our love in how we obey what we hear in God’s Word.