That is what comes to mind when I think about the disciples on Friday and Saturday of Holy Week. In my life, I have experienced pain and disappointment, but never have I had the foundation of my life stripped bare, beaten, and destroyed before my eyes. No power to change it. No authority to stop it. What the disciples experienced was helplessness leading to hopelessness as they witnessed their Messiah murdered and buried.
Put yourself in their place for a moment.
You left your career and family to follow a man who is now dead. How would you feel? What questions would you ask yourself? What questions would you ask God?
One question that must have been on their minds is, “was Jesus really who He claimed to be?”
After all, would not the Messiah have defended Himself? Shouldn’t he have overpowered Rome and the corrupt religious leaders by this point? He should have defeated the enemies and ascended to David’s throne. He should be ruling from the Temple with power and might, but instead, his body now lays silent in a borrowed tomb.
What happened to our conquering king?
The Missing Piece
As is often the case for many of us, in the midst of their devastating loss the disciples lost sight of the very words of Jesus. Yet, it’s His words that are the missing piece to their questions, especially when it comes to His power and authority.
Consider first John 10:18, Jesus declares His ultimate sovereignty by stating:
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”
What kind of man can claim power over His own death and resurrection? This is not the power of an earthly king, but of someone far superior and glorious.
In fact, on the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus further pulls back the veil and reveals to Pilate the truth of His Kingship saying,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
In this statement, Jesus not only declares his rule over an otherworldly kingdom but also signifies that the physical situation of his bondage and suffering are part of a divine plan. He is in control. He is leading the charge. He is King.
The King is Alive
This brings us to the most glorious morning in all of existence. Jesus, the reigning King of glory burst the bonds of the grave. His atoning work is finished and in an act of pure power, He steps from the tomb with eternal life in His hands. He has conquered death and the grave and stands with victory over both.
Our Conquering King has done what He said He would do. He laid down His life and He has taken it back up again. Make no mistake, the power of the resurrected Christ cannot be overstated.
Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God who John the Baptist declared is the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”
He is the One Paul describes as “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light”
He is the One whom John vividly writes, “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.”
Let those descriptions of Jesus linger in your mind. Allow the truth of the very nature of Christ and His authority make you uneasy. Don’t let it all pass by as if it were a meme you read once and forget later.
Jesus is King and His kingship has implications for all of us.
Responding to the King
It’s hard for us to fully understand the dynamics of a kingdom. Living in America is much different than living under the authority of a king. A king has the complete rule of his kingdom and those under him are subject to his laws and directives. To reject a king’s rule is to open yourself up for punishment or death, but to abide with the King is to enjoy all that he has to offer.
What does this have to do with our King, Jesus?
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” Philippians 2:9-10
In Philippians 2, we get a glimpse of the expanse of Christ’s kingdom. When Jesus obeyed the Father, submitting Himself to death and ultimately resurrection, He was given full authority over all of creation. Therefore, every person who has ever lived in the past, lives today, or will live in the future are subject to Christ.
He is King and we are His subjects, regardless of our beliefs.
As with Kings in the past, we have two options for His Kingdom. We can rebel against His rule or we can submit to it. Unlike kings in the past, our King is good and kind and longs for us to experience the joys of His Kingdom.
Rejecting the King
Make no mistake, there is an eternal cost to rebelling against the King.
In a parable in Matthew 22, Jesus spoke of a king who invited all to attend a wedding feast for his son. Despite all that he offered, this king was met with rejection, rebellion, and disregard by many. His response to those who refused his graciousness and sought their own way was destruction. In the closing portion of that parable we read these sobering words from Jesus:
“Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.“ Matthew 22:13
This troubling description of hell, speaks of a place of emotional (weeping) and physical (gnashing of teeth) suffering for those who reject the King’s goodness. This is a very real place, yet our King’s desire is not that we should suffer there, but that we should find great joy in abiding with Him forever.
Abiding with the King
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17
Here is the heart of Jesus, our King. He has made a way for us to be saved from the punishment we deserve because of our sin. Hell is very real, but salvation is available for those who respond to Jesus’s words “repent and believe in the gospel.”
At that moment we confess our sins before God and trust in what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection, we take part in the eternal life Christ provides. Not only that, but we also are made children of God, heirs with Christ, and can now abide with the King.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11
This is why Easter is so magnificent.
Our Conquering King, who bled and died on our behalf, has welcomed us into His presence for all eternity. May we never lose sight of His victory, because it’s in His victory that we also stand.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39
Pastor of Church Communications
Mike joined the HBC staff in 2015 and is passionate about exalting Christ through any medium available, whether online or in person. He also enjoys cooking, hiking with his family, and playing 90’s video games.