Jesus came to be a king, but His kingdom looks far different than what the world expected.

Scripture References and Transcript

Matthew 2:1-12

Isaiah 9:6-7

1 Samuel 8:4-20

John 18:36


There’s certain things that change from generation to generation, and I would say that one of those things that at least I am seeing as a parent of an 11-year-old, a 9-year-old, and a 5-year-old, one of the things that I’m seeing is that we have created a culture that does not wait for anything. Uh, I try and explain to my kids sometimes how much we had to wait for stuff. And I realized that even me as a child didn’t have to wait nearly as much as generations before me, but me as a child, there were things, for example, like packages. When you ordered something online, I would tell my kids, you would wait two to three weeks before that thing got here. And when they order something online, they expect it that afternoon. If not that afternoon, they expect it in less than two days because that’s what Prime is supposed to do.

But when they’re watching tv, they don’t ever watch commercials. They watch streaming everything. And so occasionally when a sporting event is on and they’re watching commercials, my five-year-old will look at it and says, what is with all the talking <laugh>, can we just get past it already? My kids have a hard time understanding. Sometimes they’ll complain about the internet, about how slow our internet is, and I’ll say, do you know that I didn’t have internet when I was a kid? And that just boggles their mind. And I said, when we got internet, it was dial up internet, which means it took a long time to do anything e even things like information. I, I mean, I remember dozens of times growing up that we’d be in an argument about something silly. Like we’d be watching a show and we’d say, Hey, what, what movie have we seen that guy or that girl in before?

And we’d look and we’d stare and we’d think, and then we’d never know. It would just be one of those mysteries that for the rest of your life, you’d be like, I don’t know where I know that guy from. But that’s not what we do anymore. Now if you see somebody, you’re like, I know that that face is familiar, what do you do? You pull out your phone and you Google it right then and there. We used to get in arguments with people over random scientific things. Like, what? No, I think you’re wrong on that. No, I’m right. No, I think you’re wrong. I’m pretty sure you’re wrong. But unless you went and looked it up in an encyclopedia you didn’t know, but not anymore. Now, if somebody says something that is flagrantly wrong, you just pull out your phone and you’re like, Hey, I, I hate to fact check you right now, but, uh, that is actually completely wrong.

How cell phones work today, that when you have a call, you can look as the name of that call and you can determine, do I want to talk to this person or not? And then if you don’t wanna talk to it, you can just send it to voicemail and you can check later if they had something important to say. I, I tried to describe to my kids. I said, so, so growing up, we didn’t have call id and we didn’t even have voicemail. And they’re looking at me like, so what does that mean? I said, what does that mean? Is it occasionally you’d be at home and the phone would ring and you’d be running to that phone and you’d grab that phone off the hook and you’d say, hello and nobody’s there? Then you’d hang the phone up. And for the rest of your life, including today, I wonder who was calling <laugh>?

Who did I miss it? It could have been Publisher’s Clearinghouse. I could have been really, really rich, and I just don’t know. It could have been the president of the United States. We don’t know. We will never know. And that’s how phones used to work. But now, if someone doesn’t text you or call you back within 15 minutes, you’re like, do they hate me? What is going on? We live in a culture that does not like to wait. All technological advances have reduced waiting. And yet, advent is a season that reminds us that Israel had to wait. That all scripture, we see these prophecies over and over and over again, that point towards a Messiah point, towards a king coming point towards a savior coming. And then at the end of the Old Testament, between the Old Testament and the New Testament, there’s this 400 years of silence that to the best of our knowledge and and recorded biblical history, God does not speak to his people.

And so there’s this waiting season. An advent reminds us of that season when there was waiting for the Messiah. That word advent is a Latin word, which simply means arrival. I mean, it comes from a Greek word that means perusia, which means presence or presence after absence. And so for us, the church for the last 2000 years as we have celebrated advent, it’s really recognizing two different seasons of waiting. It’s waiting for the first coming of Jesus. And then Jesus came, he died on the cross. He rose from the dead. He ascended back into heaven so that the church could proclaim the glory of his kingdom and advance his kingdom to the ends of the earth. But what we know from scripture is that one day he will come again. And so we recognize during advent that there was a waiting that happened before. And now in the, in-between we once again wait, that Jesus will one day come again.

Uh, I wrote it down to describe the advent season as this as Christians. Advent is a season of reflective, sincere, and joyful celebration. We are reminded of the waiting period before the first coming of Jesus, and we expectantly prepare ourselves for his triumphant return. Let me encourage you, during this advent season, Christmas is a busy time of the year. There’s so much going on, so many parties, so many happenings. And so could I just encourage you during this season to stop and to reflect and to recognize that Jesus has come before and the people of God had to wait. But Jesus will one day come again, and his second coming should make us live differently knowing that it will happen. If you’ve got a Bible, turn with me to Matthew chapter two. Uh, during this advent series, we’re gonna focus on gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which of course are the three gifts that we see that Jesus gets at his birth from the Wiseman or Magi, or the song calls from the three kings.

Uh, you actually biblically can make an argument for for all of those. Uh, there’s a prophecy in the Old Testament that talks about kings coming from the East. So we’re not a hundred percent sure all the details, but most everything we know about the three Wiseman comes from Matthew chapter two in these 12 verses. So let’s read them together. Matthew chapter two, starting in verse one. It says, now, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, where is he who has been born King of the Jews? And now, pause for a second. That that word Wiseman, uh, gets translated from a Greek word for magi, which actually comes from a Persian word, uh, which really means, uh, Wiseman is a good translation. Magi is a good translation. But most likely they were Persian astrologers.

Now we’re not really a hundred percent sure, uh, but most likely based off of the word choice that they used, that’s who they were. And what did they say? They say, for we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled in all Jerusalem with him and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people. He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, in Bethlehem of Judea, for it is written by the prophet and you o Bethlehem. And the land of Judah are by no means least among the rulers of Judah. For from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people. Israel. Then Herod summoned the Wiseman secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had arrived. And he sent them to Bethlehem saying, go and search diligently for the child.

And when you have found him, bring me word that I may too come and worship him. Now, pause for a second. Herod does not wanna worship Jesus. Herod is the ruler, and he’s hearing about this king, this prophesied king that’s supposedly born. And so he’s feigning excitement so that he can figure out the location because Herod will find out in the next chapters, we’ll go try and kill Jesus. It continues in verse nine. It says, after listening to the king, they, the Wiseman went on their way and behold the star that they had seen when it rose went before them, until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with his Mary, with Mary, his mother. When they fell down and worshiped him, then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

And being warned into dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country. By another way, it’s that famous passage when you set up your nativity scene at Christmas. Most of the time you have three wise men that go with it. And it’s because of that passage right there. No scripture doesn’t tell us that there were three wise men. It doesn’t tell us how many wise men there were. It tells us that there were three gifts. And so that’s really why nativity scenes look the way that they do. And of course, probably in your nativity scene, uh, you have very, uh, multi-ethnic three kings. ’cause that’s just the way that we do it. We wanna make sure that everybody is in there. And we’re not really sure a lot of the details, most likely the Wiseman aren’t there at the birth. It says at the very beginning of chapter two, after he was born.

So this is sometime later, we’re not sure how much later it could be that he’s six months old or one years old, or two years old. We’re not a hundred percent sure exactly where it lines up in there, but they show up. And it’s interesting that nobody else shows up, that you have a nation that is looking ahead, waiting for, and beside they had all the same information that these three men had, and yet none of them were there. Maybe it’s because they got tired of waiting. Maybe it’s because after 400 years and so much heartache and living under oppression, they just had given up. And yet, these wise men have used the same sacred texts from the Old Testament and ascertained that the Messiah that was prophesied was being born. They give him these three gifts. They give him gold, give frankincense and mym.

And throughout church history, uh, we’ve often ascribed to those gifts, meaning that, that Jesus was born to be a king. And therefore, because he was born to be a king, they gave him gold. And Jesus simultaneously was born to be a priest. And in the Old Testament, we see frankincense as something that is used inside the temple, used by priests. And then lastly, that Jesus was born to die. That even at his birth’s, recognizing that Jesus would one day die on a cross, because myrrh is a spice that we see used in the Old Testament for in tomb a death. We also see it in the tomb. Now, we’re not a hundred percent sure that that’s exactly what those mean, but oftentimes, the, the church, historically, that’s what we’ve ascribed to those meetings. So for the next few weeks, we wanna look at Jesus being a king, Jesus being a priest, and then Jesus being born to die.

Uh, there’s a famous passage in Isaiah, uh, that is proclaiming that Jesus would be born. It says in Isaiah, for, to us, a child is born to us. A son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace of the increases government and of peace. There will be no end on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. And so based off of prophecies like that, here was the expectation that Jesus was gonna come from the lineage of David and be a king, very much like David was only new and improved. And so what did they expect? They expected Jesus to come with a sword as a conquering hero.

At the time, they, they lived under Roman rule. Roman rule did not allow them to function the way that they wanted to function. They felt oppressed and marginalized. And so they were waiting for that day when a Messiah would come and throw off the shackles of the government and conquer not just that nation, but the entire world. And then Jesus comes in a very different fashion with very little fanfare being born in a manger. Jesus came to be king, but his kingdom would look far different than what was expected. It’s hard in our culture to understand what it means to be a king, uh, because we really don’t have any kings, especially in America. But even if you look at the entire world, there are no kings. Not the same way that there were 2000 years ago. And so we have a hard time understanding what does it mean that Jesus, for them was gonna be the king?

What does it mean that Jesus meant to be a spiritual king? What does it mean that Jesus wants to be our king? Now, if I don’t have anything to understand that idea of falling underneath the authority of a king, how do I know what it means? I’d say probably the best analogy or example that I’ve got that, that correlates is the military. When you’re in the military, you have a supervisor and you do whatever that supervisor says. There’s a famous story about a guy named Jeffrey Clark. Jeffrey Clark was in the army. Jeffrey Clark one evening got a job, he got an assignment, his orders, or that the next morning he would get on a plane and he would parachute out of that plane. And Jeffrey Clark Clark said, sir, yes, sir. The only problem was that Jeffrey Clark was not airborne trained. He never trained to jump out of a train.

As a matter of fact, he had never jumped out of a plane in his life. Now, for most of us, that would probably raise some questions. Should I be jumping on a plane without any training? But not for Jeffrey Clark? Guess what he did? The next morning he shows up, he puts on a parachute, they take him up into a plane, he jumps out. It wasn’t until after he jumped out that they figured out there was a miscommunication. See, the military had two. Jeffrey Clarks one. Jeffrey Clark was an airborne ranger. He had gotten a lot of training in jumping outta airplanes. The other, Jeffrey Clark was not an airborne ranger and had never jumped out of a plane in his life. And, and so his, his supervisors come to Jeffrey Clark after he lands and, and praised the Lord. He was fine. He didn’t get hurt, he didn’t die. And they go up to Jeffrey Clark and they say, Jeffrey, why did you jump out of the play? Man, you, you’ve never had parachute training. You had no clue what you were doing. That was incredibly dangerous. And here was Jeffrey Clark’s response. He said, I figured if the army believed I could do it, I could do it <laugh>, so I did it. He said, it’s not my job to ask questions. It’s my job to say, sir, yes sir. And so I jumped out of the plane.

And having a king means that you do what your king tells you to do. You don’t ask questions. You don’t fight it. You don’t argue with it. You just say, yes, sir. Yes sir. And you follow along. And the old Testament’s interesting because Israel was not intended to have a king. God wanted, Yahweh wanted to be their king, but we see the people rebel against that and desire to have a king. Why? Because all the nations around them had a king. If you’ve got a Bible turn with me over to one Samuel, chapter eight. We’re gonna look at a, a big chunk of verses. But in this chunk of verses, we, we see not only the desire for a king, but we also see the warnings against heaven. A king, first Samuel chapter eight, verse four, it says, then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Rama and said to him, behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways.

Now, a point for us, a king to judge us like all the nations. But this thing displeased Samuel when they said to him, give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you. They’ve rejected me from being king over them according to all the deeds that they have done from the day that I brought them out of Egypt, even to this day, forsaking me and serving other God. So they are also doing to you. Now, when they obey their voice, only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them. So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for the king from them.

He said to them, these will be the ways of the king who will reign over you. He will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to his horsemen to run his chariots. And he will point for himself, commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some plow his ground and to reap his harvest and to make his implements of war in the equipment of his chariots. He’ll take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He’ll take the best of your field and vineyards in all of orchards and give them to your servants. He’ll take the 10th of your grain of your vineyards and give them to his officers and to his servants, he’ll take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys and put them to work. He will take the tent of your flock and you shall be as slaves.

And that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourself. But the Lord will not answer you in that day. Now, that’s a sharp warning. I mean, it’s just over and over again. Hey, you sure you wanna do this? Now? Lemme tell you how bad it’s gonna be. And then just over and over, Hey, he’s gonna take your kids. He’s gonna take your stuff. Your sons are gonna die. You sure you wanna do this? And then listen to what they say in verse 19, they say, but the people refuse to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, no, why? But there shall be a king over us that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.

They wanted a king. Why? Because every nation around them had a king. They said, we’re looking at the world around us, and we wanna be like them. We wanna be like, like that nation over there we’re unique, and they were meant to be unique. They were meant to be set apart, but they didn’t wanna be unique. They just wanted to be like everyone else. And so they chose their first king Saul. It tells us that Saul was good looking, that he was tall, that he was strong, he was a mighty warrior. And then Saul ended up being a terrible king. He was jealous, and he was angry, and he disobeyed the Lord. He started with such great promise. He was a king that looked on paper better than every other king, and yet he failed the nation. You see, so often, although we don’t have a king in the same way that, that Israel had a king, we choose kings over our lives.

How do we choose our kings? Uh, really, I think it comes down to two specific different ways that we either choose our king because we follow the world around us, or we choose our king because we follow ourselves that Israel looked at the world around ’em and said, we wanna be like them, like him, like her. So we’re gonna act the way that they do. And although it’s a different time, that same temptation applies for you And for me today in 2023, that so often the king of my life, that thing in my life that I ascribe worship, worship to worth to, that I adore, that I live my life for. Why do I do that? Because I look at the world around me, and the things that the world loves are the things that I end up loving. I fall in love with money.

I fall in love with power. I fall in love with influence. I fall in love with a career. And none of those things by themselves are bad. But when I make them the ultimate thing, when they become the king over my life and will lead to emptiness, uh, we live in a culture in a day and age where we’re just filled with messages nonstop all the time. I remember when I was a kid, one of the coolest days of the years, getting the Toys R Us catalog, that sucker would come in the mail and it was this big, and, and for like an hour, you’d just flip through and you’d circle 97 things. And then your parents would look at it and like, how do we know you? You circle $10,000 worth of toys here. How, how do we know what it is that you want?

And and we’d look at the thing and it’d be amazing, and then it would kind of go away. And that was it. Now, you know why toys Are Us doesn’t send a catalog. Well, for one, they don’t exist anymore. But for two, it it’s because they don’t need to. Kids are inundated with messages of stuff all the time, nonstop of things that would make their life happier or better, or that they should want, or they should desire they should buy. And the same is true for adults. It’s just bigger toys with bigger price tax that all around us, the world is trying to tell us what we need to be and what we need to worship and what we need to chase after. And those things become the kings of our lives. Or oftentimes, if it’s not that we just make ourselves the kings of our life.

Shirley, you’ve known someone that their king was themselves, that every relationship in their life revolved around their wellbeing, that every moment of their life revolved around their wellbeing. That everything was about what made them happy or what gave them pleasure, that they saw everyone is secondary to themselves. And we can fall into that same pattern that we either make this world the king of our life or make ourselves the king of our life. But Jesus comes to be a king, but to be a very different king than any king that the world had seen before. Look what Jesus, right? Jesus says in John chapter 18, verse 36, Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would’ve been fighting, then I might not be delivered over to the Jews. He’s saying, look, if, if I only cared about the earthly kingdom, I would’ve picked up a sword.

I would’ve raised an army. My followers would be trying to overthrow Rome. But he says, my kingdom is not from the world. Jesus is saying, look, I came to usher in the kingdom of heaven. And it’s not an earthly kingdom. It’s a spiritual kingdom that will reign forevermore, that Jesus came as a king to conquer. And every kingdom that has ever been won in the history of this earth, it has been conquered with a cost, with a price. And that price has been bloodshed. And Jesus likewise ushers in a new kingdom, and he bought that kingdom with bloodshed. But it looked unlike any other kingdom the world has ever known or will ever known, because the bloodshed for Jesus’s kingdom was himself, that he went willingly to the cross, that God looks down on the earth and he sees the fighting, and he sees the bickering, and he sends the sin, and he sees the brokenness, and he sees this pattern of behavior that can’t be broken.

And so the God steps down into human history from heaven in the flesh. Emmanuel Jesus’ name means God with us, that Jesus was God. And he went willingly to the cross, and he shed his blood and he died on that cross for your sins and for my sins. Because in order to experience his kingdom, someone had to pay the punishment for the sins of humanity. And so Jesus dies. But that’s not the end of the story. Three days later, he raises from the dead, and then he proclaims to us what? That he wants to be our king now and forevermore. And what does that mean? It means that we are making a commitment to follow after him, for him to be our Lord, for him to be our savior, for my life to be changed. I’m no longer gonna make the things of this world the king over my life.

I’m not gonna let myself be the king over my life, but instead, I’m gonna make Jesus be the king over my life. Sometimes it’s easier to have that desire, but but lack the commitment. Uh, right over here, right by Ace Hardware and, and King Super on the other side, kind of behind Valor. Uh, there’s a Planet Fitness that’s going up. And, uh, planet Fitness is a, is a fascinating business model. Uh, planet Fitness, uh, if you don’t know about them, uh, they have 2,500 global locations. They have 20 million members, and they will generate over 1 billion in revenue this year. They were founded in 1992. Now, that was a pretty saturated market when they started. It’s not like there were no gyms that that existed at that point. There were a lot of gyms. And yet they come onto the scene and within about the first decade that they, they start, they just explode.

And the reason they exploded is very different than most other gyms because they run their gym very contrary to the way that every other gym runs their gym. Hey, here’s a little bit about their business model. Uh, that number one, they only charge $10 a month, which is just crazy cheap. In 1992 when they started, they charged $10 a month in 2023. Guess what? They charge $10 a month. Now, everything else in this life has inflated from 1992 to 2023, yet they haven’t changed their price. Their motto is the judgment free zone. Why? Why, why is the judgment free zone their motto? Because their target audience is people who don’t go to the gym. So they’re trying to get people that do not go to the gym that maybe are intimidated by the gym to sign up for the only $10 a month membership and become a member of their gym.

Now, their gym, the average gym they have is about 20,000 square feet and has between 70 510,000 members. Now, 20,000 square feet is a lot of square feet that I can promise you if 10,000 people showed up to 20,000 square feet, it does not work. So their whole model breaks if everyone paying for a membership shows up. So now get this, they built a gym to discourage gym goers from attending. You say, what? What does that mean? What does that look like? Well, well, here’s what they figured out. The most of the committed gym members, the people that go work out a lot, guess what they use when they go to the gym? Free weights, barbells. Guess what? Planet Fitness does not have free weights, barbells. And because they were looking at their business model and they say, you know, who hangs out in the gym a lot?

It’s these people over here with the weights, <laugh>. If we just got rid of the weights, then those people wouldn’t show up. And so they intentionally got rid of the weights. How does that model work? Well, $10 is just cheap enough that if you have a membership, you feel guilty about canceling a $10 membership. And so there’s people that are sitting at home and they don’t go to gym. Maybe some of you’re like this right now. ’cause probably you have a gym membership and probably there are some of you that don’t actively go to the gym. Uh, but the way our mind works is we’re at that time of the year where going up to Thanksgiving, you’re like, well, I’m not gonna work out before Thanksgiving. I mean, how counterintuitive is that? I’m about to go eat a bunch of food. I’ll work out after Thanksgiving, that’s when I’ll get into healthy shape.

And then you go through Thanksgiving and you eat a lot and you gain a few pounds. And then what happens after Thanksgiving? You say, you know what? If I start working out now, that’s just a waste of time. ’cause I’m about to go into Christmas season, and at Christmas I’m gonna eat whatever I want to eat. And so January, that’s when I’m gonna start going to the gym. And then January shows up. And the first time you go to the gym, what do you decide? There are too many people at the gym. I’m gonna wait for these people that are just showing up for New Year’s resolutions to stop coming. And about a month I’ll show up again. And a month later, what happens? You never show up again and you just keep paying that sucker even though you never go. And so Planet Fitness did this.

It’s wild. Up to 92% of their gym members never go to their gym is the most brilliant business model in the history of the world. We’re gonna get a whole bunch of people to sign up for something that they’re never gonna use, but they’re gonna feel too guilty to ever cancel it. Uh, plaintiff fitness is kind of famous because once a month they have, um, pizza Mondays and go get pizza on Monday once a month. They have Bagel Tuesdays. Now, probably not a lot of gyms giving out pizza once a month or bagels once a month. Not exactly a health food, but guess what? It fits their model

And their clientele. Now, I’m not bashing Planet Fitness. I, I think $10 a month. That’s a great model if you’ll actually use it. But, but here’s what I do wanna point out is that their model works. Because oftentimes the way that we function as humans is that we have a desire for something, but we don’t follow up with the commitment for something. And so Jesus comes into the earth and Jesus says, I am the king. I want to be your king. And here’s what often happens inside of Christianity, that we have a desire for that. Like that sounds good, that sounds great, but we don’t follow it up with the commitment for that. And Jesus is saying, if I’m gonna be your king, if you’re gonna follow after me, it’s both the desire and the commitment. Tim Keller, uh, he wrote a book called Jesus the King.

And here’s what he says. When the Bible talks about sin, it is not just referring to the bad things we do. It’s not just lying or lust or whatever the case may be. It is ignoring God in the world. He has made it’s rebelling against him by living without reference to him. It’s saying, I will decide exactly how I live my life. And Jesus says, that is our main problem. The gospel is not about choosing to follow advice. It’s about being called to follow a king. Not just someone with the power and the authority to tell you what needs to be done, but someone with the power and the authority to do what needs to be done and then to offer it to you as good news as we enter into this advent season here. Here’s my question for you, my question for me, my question for all of us, and that is this, who is my king? When I really examine my life, who’s the king of my life? And my challenge, my encouragement for you during this Christmas season is to inwardly reflect and say, am I living a life that an outsider would look at me and say, Hey, I can tell that Jesus is your king, and if not, what can I do to change that in this season, leading up to Christmas.