The Arrival Of The King | Part 5
Let’s not recap a word of the previous blog and let’s not delay the suspense any longer. Who holds the identity of humanity’s promised Saviour and King?
A man who lived some 2000 years ago wrote a short book documenting the life of a man whom he followed. The writer’s name was Matthew. Matthew was a tax collector in his day but had his life turned upside down by the man whom he wrote about. The opening line of Matthew’s book is this:
“The historical record of Jesus the anointed King, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”1
Is this person Jesus the redeeming king of humanity? Is this Jesus humanity’s saviour and ruler? It’s a good start that Jesus is identified with David and Abraham! I mean, all those ancient writings kept making those connections.
On another note, I assume you have at least heard of Jesus? He’s an extremely well-known person in world history, so you might agree that this also makes him a possible candidate for humanity’s Saviour? Imagine if I was trying to tell you about someone who you had never heard about, and that nobody had ever heard of before? You’d be far more sceptical. But I’m actually telling you about someone whose name is well-known throughout most of the world. This, in itself, is a fascinating fact.
Without getting into the debate of proving whether Jesus, as King and Saviour, is true or not, I’d like to say, at least, that Matthew certainly believed Jesus to be humanity’s redeemer and, time and time again, he connects Jesus’ life with the ancient writings of promise about humanity’s King and Saviour.
The King Is Born
Let’s read how Matthew records Jesus’ birth:
“This is how Jesus the anointed King was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’. All of this occurred to fulfil the Lord’s message through his prophet: ‘Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us’’ 2.
Alongside Matthew, there were other people who documented the history of Jesus the anointed King. Luke was one of them. He, unlike Matthew, records the birth of Jesus from Mary’s side of things, as opposed to Joseph’s. It’s fascinating to see things from the perspective of the virgin mother herself!
“‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favour with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!’ Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God”3.
Returning to the book of Matthew once more, he tells us that the birth of the Saviour King was highly anticipated in regions far and wide. He records that,
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’… ‘In Bethlehem of Judea,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ After this, the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh”4.
Returning to Luke once more, he tells us that,
“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Saviour – yes, the anointed King, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!’” 5.
If, for nothing else, what a great story don’t you think?
Now, there are many things that aren’t 100% provable, and there are certainly more provable things in our world than the story about Jesus. But, what if this story were true? What if these events are not myths and fantasies, but rather historical and matters of fact? Is it too far-fetched to be a possibility?
Records Of The King’s Life
For the rest of this blog, I’m going to move through the records of Jesus’ life and broadly paint a picture of who he was and what he did. Jesus said a lot of things and made a lot of claims according to those who wrote about him. The claims of Jesus are crucial to the story, but I’m going to save them for a blog to come, and, here, just focus on a broad view of his life and what he did.
At about the age of 30, Jesus began to publicly make himself known with the claims of being Israel’s and the world’s Saviour and King. He began his ministry, proclaiming that the Kingdom of God had drawn near, and that men and women should respond appropriately to this news with repentance, allegiance and trust towards God and His appointed King, Jesus. Jesus said:
“The time promised by God has come at last! The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”6
It was claimed that the Kingdom of God was breaking into history, and breaking into history through Jesus as God’s anointed King of the Kingdom. Jesus roamed through the land of Israel with a band of followers spreading the news about God’s Kingdom in all the cities and villages. Jesus called upon people to repent from their sins and follow him as the king worthy of their allegiance. Jesus forgave people of their sins by the authority God had given him, giving people divine approval that could never come any other way. He likewise taught people how to live the new and clean life he had given them as citizens of God’s Kingdom and, in this way – forgiving and instructing to a new life – Jesus demonstrated himself to be humanity’s appointed Saviour and King. In addition to this, Jesus fed the poor, retrieved the lost and restored the broken and, in this way, he saved people from their sins and from the effects of the sin of their original parents in the beginning.
Jesus was famous for teaching with parables – cryptic stories with hidden meanings. These stories taught moral lessons as well as eternal realities. His most famous parable is possibly that of the Prodigal Son 7. And as the King, invested with the authority of God on the earth, Jesus was recorded as performing many miracles of healing:
“Jesus travelled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the places of worship and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness”8
As people witnessed the things that Jesus did, the people, and even the sceptics, were forced to admit that:
“We know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him”9
“Crowds marvelled at the things Jesus did, saying ‘Never was anything like this seen in Israel’” 10, and “They glorified God, who had given such authority to men”11.
Jesus claimed that these miracles were proof that the Kingdom of God had broken into history and was now a reality in the earth, for, he said,
“If I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you”12
The King’s Campaign
Forgiving, teaching, restoring, promising, healing, instructing, reassuring, transforming; this was ‘the King Jesus campaign’ that took off across the land of Israel. Jesus called for the only appropriate response to his claims – that people repent, change sides and give over total allegiance and love to their Saviour and King. Those who did became citizens of his kingdom and received all the benefits of his good rule – his forgiveness and promise of eternal salvation, and his governing and rulership as he led the way towards God’s purpose for humanity.
All in all, Jesus was on mission, bearing God’s image, ruling as God ruled, living as God lived. God had come to the world in the person of Jesus the King and was bringing people into hope, glory, and His Kingdom.
But it wasn’t all bells and whistles. For all the glory and sunshine that Jesus brought to people and to the world, a day of darkness was just around the corner – three days in fact. But, thankfully, those three days would come to an end and the light would shine greater than ever! We’ll get to that in time. But for the moment, stay tuned for the next blog, The Claims of The King.