A New Kingdom with a New King - Special Guest: Doug Black Jr.
This year marks a special occasion in my adult life. This is the first year that I have started the Christmas celebration WAY before Thanksgiving.
You should know, I have not enjoyed the Christmas season for a long time, for reasons my therapist will have to figure out. But this year feels so much different. The tree is up and decorated, the stockings are hung by the fake chimney with care, and Christmas music is gladly being played loudly.
And, I finally realized why: If I hear anything else about a political fashion, my head will explode. Christmas music defuses the madness.
I don't think I'm alone in this. The vitriol, the hatred, the anger, the fear, the frustration, all of it permeating every corner of our culture. And whether your particular candidate or party won, to many folks, it just doesn't feel like a win. Many feel worn out from incessant coverage, bickering, censoring and self-censoring, and trying to discern what the truth is in the bombardment of the 24-hour news cycle.
As I've begun to detox from this, as difficult as that is right now, I was reminded of a powerful fact.
Jesus is Lord.
This is chapter zero. Before anything else, we start with the most primary declaration of the Christian faith.
I'm reminded of this from the Christmas story in Luke. “...For today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
“Jesus Is Lord” is the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. It is calling out to all other superpowers, kings, presidents, rulers, royalty that Christ is prime. He is first. He is only, and all other power is entirely and completely subjugated to Him and Him alone.
All other authority on heaven and on earth, over all people, land, action and atom, takes place only because Christ Himself has allowed it. All another authority is delegated from the hand of God Himself, through Christ our Lord.
A Kingdom that Never Comes to an End
This is why Peter tells us “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Our nation is much different, our people much different. And all of us are separate from the country of origin. Our nationalism lies with the God whose Kingdom we are called to build.
The old kingdom was now moot. The King who all of Creation had been waiting for since the Fall of man had come.
Hence why the king in the Christmas story in Luke 2 kept trying to kill Jesus. King Herod is visited by some astrologers who see a star, signifying the King who would rule all has been born. The king, with an air of subterfuge, ready to slay the baby Jesus, says, "Oh, bring this kid to me! I want to worship the King, too!" He began to believe that he himself was the ultimate power, as was common among all kings and rulers of his time, as is true of kings and rulers and presidents and royals today. He began on a mission to end the threat to his purported sovereignty.
But all attempts to end the Lord were thus ended. The king died, and Christ lives on. Every king dies, and Christ lives on. There have been a million attempts to usurp His Kingdom, some of a large scale, but most on a personal scale.
This is why claiming Jesus as Lord, as the reigning King of everything, including ourselves, is such a subversive claim. It is a banner to all other powers and authorities that they bow their knee, as do we bow ours, to the Highest Authority.
And even more so in our nation (I'm writing from America) and our time. As we become more and more jaded with what is happening politically, as more and more around the world are asked to give up their faith in Christ, or as more and more of us are distracted by the onslaught of political happenings, and powers and authorities becoming more and more corrupt, we are called to one simple call.
Jesus is Lord.
This King is Not Like the Others.
So, where the politicians seek power, we see our King born in a stable, having his arrival proclaimed to the people by dirty farmers. Where the kings arrive with envoys of pageantry, our King came as two teen parents gave birth in a barn.
We see our King shunning the spotlight for 30 years of His earthly life. We see Him avoiding the politics of His day, and giving His entire life to serving those in need around Him, serving His Father and the most broken of people around Him. He engaged as much as it called out for justice and served to develop the Kingdom of God in people. He called people to walk in a way entirely different, seeking humility over grandeur, service over forced servitude, love over selfishness and hate.
As you detox, or re-tox and detox, from this political season, remember that this home we have is temporary and that we serve a greater King.
What does it look like for Jesus to be King over your whole life? What would your neighborhood look like with Jesus as Lord over every corner? How can you take a step toward that today?
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