While watching the news last night, I heard about more restrictions promised by government authorities. I know that these are well-intentioned attempts to control this pandemic and yet I found myself feeling suspicion. Like many people today, I do not trust those who own the power in our institutions. One of the more difficult personal issues for me in this year has been wrestling with regulations that feel like an imposition on individual rights.
Do you trust government authorities, believe the best about those who hold high office? History’s lessons confirm the assertion that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton, 1857) That’s why I hope that our American system of ‘checks and balances’ within government is preserved. Perhaps you’re shaking your head and saying, “Who knew that Jerry was such a cynic?”
There is One whose power I love and to Whom I submit without reservation because I know that He is perfect, that He loves me, and that He wills my good.
He is my King. Jesus Christ, my Lord and King!
Paul declares the power of Jesus – “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17, NIV) That praise of God and His power comes at the end of Paul’s letter to a young pastor struggling with false teachers and his own fears.
The old apostle urges him to faith including a short testimony. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16, NIV) Then, he breaks into this shout of worship – “Deep honor and bright glory to the King of All Time— One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes! “ (1 Timothy 1:17, The Message)
I love Jesus, the Man, I meet in the Gospels. God reveals Himself as “Immanuel” (God with us). How wonderful it is to know that my Savior is not a deity far removed from my experience. In faith I receive His grace, trust Him to save me. And I know that the revelation of Jesus’ identity is not complete in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
In Revelation, we meet the Christ, the King. The gentle Savior of the Gospels is the awesome Lord of Glory, the King, in those chapters. Do you know this Jesus? “They (the evil of the world) will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17:14, NIV)
John ‘saw’ the culmination of the plan of God and assures that Jesus is triumphant. “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:11-14, NIV)
Humans given power may become despots or petty tyrants. But, my Lord is a King who loves me, who uses His power benevolently for me. He will not oppress me. He raises me up. He extends His power to protect me and promises to bring me into His kingdom, under His reign.
Is He YOUR King, too? If He is only a ‘Babe in a manger’ in your faith, you will be subject to fear. As we celebrate Advent, worship Jesus, our Immanuel here, and do not forget to “Crown Him King!” If we see Him all of His majesty, we are set free from fear and despair. As the song says, “He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.” (Joy to the World, Isaac Watts)
The word from the Word returns to the passage I quoted a moment ago. Make this amazing declaration your meditation this day. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17, NIV
Lead on O King Eternal
The day of march has come
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home
Thro’ days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong
And now O King eternal
We lift our battle song
Lead on O King Eternal
Till sin’s fierce war shall cease
And holiness shall whisper
The sweet Amen of peace
For not with swords loud clashing
Nor roll of stirring drums
With deeds of love and mercy
The heav’nly kingdom comes
Lead on O King Eternal
We follow not with fears
For gladness breaks like morning
Where’er Thy face appears
Thy cross is lifted o’er us
We journey in its light
The crown awaits the conquest
Lead on O God of might
Ernest Warburton Shurtleff | Henry Thomas Smart | Ovid Young © Words: Public Domain