Christ, the King–Christmas 2016

The word Christ has been so thoroughly associated with the name of Jesus that one might think it was His surname.   Carolyn Jones.  Ken Smith.  Jesus Christ.   But, of course, it isn’t.  The word Christ comes from the Greek word in the New Testament, Christos which was translated from the Hebrew word in the Old Testament, Messiah.  Both the Greek and the Hebrew are terms that refer to one who is anointed or set apart by God for a special task.  It might be a prophet or a priest or a king.  The N.T. refers to Jesus as God’s anointed.  He is God’s final word to the world and His last prophet.  He is our high priest who made the final and only acceptable sacrifice to God for our sins.  He is the Messiah, the Christ, the King to whom God has given all power and authority and who reigns now and will reign forever over the Kingdom of God.

At Christmas we remember the birth of Jesus, but our Christmas carols rarely sing of the birth of Jesus without also referring to Him as King.  Joy to the world, the Lord is come, Let earth receive her King.  Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King.  O come all ye faithful..come and behold Him born the King..

And often they tell of His birth and move our vision on through to His glorious kingdom in the new heavens and the new earth.

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
Peace on the earth, goodwill to men
From heavens all gracious King!
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

The birth of Jesus was only the beginning of the revelation of God’s Son to the world.  In fact, when Jesus was born and even through His years of growing in wisdom and stature, of those who knew Mary and Joseph or personally knew Jesus, very few recognized Him as anything more than the son of Mary or the son of Joseph, the carpenter or Jesus of Nazareth.

But to a few, glimpses of his true identity, as God’s anointed one, were revealed.  First to Mary—He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, the angel said.  After Mary conceived, she went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. And a glimpse of Jesus’ identity was revealed to Elizabeth and to John the Baptist while he was still in his mother’s womb—for when the sound of Mary’s greeting reached Elizabeth’s ears, the baby leaped in her womb for joy.

And of course, it was revealed to Joseph and Zacharias and to the shepherds and the wise men who came seeking the one who was born King of the Jews.  And it was revealed by the Holy Spirit to the old man, Simeon, that he would not see death until he beheld the Lord’s Christ.  And it was revealed to Anna, the prophetess.

After Jesus was baptized and He began His earthly ministry of teaching and healing, many, many more saw glimpses of His glory, power, and majesty.  His disciples, the women who followed Him, many who received healing.  Even though, He came in humility and gentleness, glimpses of what was to come were present and visible to some.

It was even revealed to some who did not receive the news with gladness and joy, like Herod, who at the news of the birth of the King of the Jews was filled with envy and rage and, in an effort to kill God’s Christ, killed every Jewish boy under the age of two.  Satan knew who Jesus was.  The demons knew who Jesus was.  The Pharisees knew who Jesus was which is why they feared Him and plotted throughout his years of ministry to kill Him.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, the people laid their garments and palm branches on the ground for His passage and shouted with great joy, Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  And less than a week later, many of those same people at His trial cried, Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!  The N. T. tells us that at the moment of His crucifixion and death the kings of the earth set themselves in array and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Anointed.  But in Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it.

Jesus did not stay dead and did not remain in the tomb for the work that He was set apart for is not complete.  He rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds and hundreds of people in a new and glorified body fit for a new and glorious kingdom which is not of this sinful world.

After 40 days He ascended into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God, on His eternal throne.  Peter declared in his sermon to the Jews on the day of Pentecost, Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.

And when the children of God receive our incorruptible bodies like unto
His own glorious body, the Bible says that the whole of creation
(the heavens and the earth) will be set free from its bondage to corruption.
And that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  

In the words of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah:

The Lord God omnipotent reigneth
The kingdoms of this world
Is become the kingdoms of our Lord
And of his Christ
And He shall reign forever and forever.

A Music Link:  “In the First Light”—Acapella Project by Glad