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King of Kings January 5, 2014

Posted by sandhandrews in Sermons.
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Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany

January 5, 2014

Focus: God sent His Son to be King of Kings.

Function: That the hearers make God’s reign known to the rulers of the heavenly realms.

Structure: This is the historical situation of the text…this is the meaning for us now.

King of Kings

They’d studied the stars.  They’d read all the scrolls.  They double-checked all the prophesies.  This was it.  Without a doubt, this was the one.  Quickly, they gathered together all of their scrolls and their star charts.  They packed up a few sets of clothing into their sacks, which they filled to brim with food.  They saddled their camels and hung their belongings on the sides.  This was it.  This was the star they’d been waiting for.  It must be followed.

In what would have taken anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months, the journey was long and treacherous.  They walked along lakes and forded rivers, they crossed mountains of sand and desert heat, the journey was not for the faint of heart.  They eluded thieves and hunger and made their way mile after mile, following that star.

At long last, their journey was close.  The moment they’d long been waiting for was upon them.  “Where is the One who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

History has debated who these men were.  Wise men?  Three kings of orient?  Or perhaps simply as Matthew describes them, Magi.  Magi were priests of another religion, they were well trained in astrology, studying the stars.  But whatever it was, the prophesies reached their ears.  They followed that star to the little town of Bethlehem.

And more than that, they knew something would be under that star.  They came bearing gifts of abundant wealth.  Frankincense, gold, and myrrh, these are not your normal Babies ‘R Us registry gifts.  They’re not looking for just some ordinary child.  They are looking for the king of the Jews, and they’re not talking about King Herod.

As they arrive on the scene in Bethlehem, sometime shortly after the child’s birth, days, maybe weeks, they provided one more gift.  These wise men, kings, or magi, they bowed low to the ground.  They worshipped the One born King of the Jews, they worshipped their King.  They traveled hundreds of miles to catch a glimpse of their King.

Worship is one of the things that identifies God.  From studying Scripture, we can see that there are three unique pieces to God’s identity.  He’s the sole Creator of everything.  He’s the sole Ruler of everything.  And He alone is worthy of worship.  By bowing down in worship, the Magi are acknowledging that this child is true God.  This baby Jesus that they’ve found is Christ, the King of Kings.

Paul, an apostle of our King, says this about Him:

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God, through His Son Jesus Christ, is reclaiming His kingdom.  Through Jesus, He’s restoring His rule and His authority over heaven and earth.  He alone is God.  He alone created everything.  He alone rules over all of creation.  He alone is worthy of worship.  As the Son of God, Jesus is no mere king.  Jesus has all authority and God has made Him King of Kings.

This isn’t a new idea.  Even aside from God’s people, the world has always known its Creator.  Sure we forget and go astray, but there will always be moments where God is recognized and acknowledged.  Like these magi, the King of Salem, known as Melchizedek, worshipped God.  He even blessed Abraham and all of his children.

Nebuchadnezzar, the supposedly wicked king of Babylon, also knew God.  Multiple times in the book of Daniel, he stands in awe of the Lord; he worships God alone.  Twice, Nebuchadnezzar is plagued by his dreams.  Only Daniel is able to help him.  Only Daniel, God’s messenger.  And Daniel was sure to point Nebuchadnezzar in the right direction.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to Him. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and King of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” (Dan 2:46-47 ESV)

When he had thrown Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace, he saw with his own eyes an angel of the Lord rescue them from that fire.  Nebuchadnezzar praised the Lord that day.

There is something about this God of Israel.  There is something about this Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  Isaiah prophesied that “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.  ‘Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm.’”

All the nations of the earth are drawn to God.  The baby born in Bethlehem, Jesus the Christ, is King of Kings.  He’s the King over all of creation, heaven and earth.

It’s all too easy here to point out our shortcomings.  Sin is rebellion.  That’s what Adam and Eve did in the Garden.  They rebelled against their God and their Creator.  They rebelled against their Lord and their King.

How often do you and I want to be the only ruler in our own lives?  How often do we get stressed out over micromanaging everything around us?  We worry over our jobs.  We stress over our finances.  We trust in ourselves for safety.  We trust in our own ability to provide for our daily needs of food, clothing, and shelter.  We rebel against God.  We try to control our own lives, rather than allowing our King of Kings to do it for us.

Herod denied this vehemently.  He denied that anyone but himself could be the king of the Jews.  His rage and his jealousy at the thought of another king is obvious.  At first he tries to play subtle, to craftily use the Magi to locate this King.  But once he realizes this attempt failed, he takes his jealousy to a whole nother level.  Herod commits mass murder, trying to kill off this King.

This jealousy, wrath, and attempt to control gives us a glimpse at the character of Satan.  This whole topic, this whole issue of King of Kings is exactly what’s been eating at Satan all these years.  He’s jealous of God.  He’s angry that he can’t be in complete control of everything.  His subtle, crafty attempts in the garden show just that.  He sparks rebellion against the true King, as he tries to put himself in power.

And while Satan’s power grabs may have worked for a while, they don’t anymore.  Christ is the King of Kings.  His birth in Bethlehem, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the tomb demolish Satan’s authority.  Any attempt Satan makes today, is futile and in vain.  Christ has come.  Creation is God’s, not Satan’s.  Christ is the King of Kings.

It’s truly awesome to look back at history and see times when earthly kings have acknowledged God.  Charlemagne was the emperor and king of the great Carolingian Empire from 800-814.  In his will, he directed that his throne should be placed in his tomb, surrounded of course by his wealth.  But, he also mentioned that his body should be seated upon the throne, with his Bible open in his lap, and his fingers pointed at Matthew 16:26: “ For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”  Charlemagne, a great earthly king, acknowledged it.  No matter how much wealth or control you can muster on this earth, it won’t do you any good.

It’s a good thing it’s not up to us.  It’s not ours to control.  There’s an old story that tells it well.  There was a boy standing on the sidewalk just waiting for the bus.  An older man walked by and thought he’d give him some gentle guidance.  “Son,” he said, “if you’re waiting on the bus, you need to move to the street corner. That’s where the bus stops for passengers.”

“It’s OK,” said the boy. “I’ll just wait right here, and the bus will stop for me.”
The man repeated his argument, but the boy never moved. Just then, the bus appeared. Amazingly, the bus pulled over to where the boy stood, and the child hopped on. The man on the sidewalk stood speechless. The boy turned around in the doorway and said, “Mister, I knew the bus would stop here, because the bus driver is my dad!”

If the bus driver is your dad, you don’t need a bus stop.  If you’re mom or dad is a US Senator, you don’t need an appointment to get into their office.  If God is your God, you don’t need to do it all yourself.  You needn’t fret or worthy about the little things in life.  You don’t have rebel and fight to control your destiny.  God will take care of that.  Christ alone is the King of Kings.  He is our Creator and Ruler, and He alone is worthy of worship.

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