August 16, 2020

A Different Kind of King

John 12:12-19

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

—  John 12:13

Many first-century Jews had hopes that their promised Messiah would be a political leader, someone who could lead Israel in a revolution against the Roman Empire. Their hope was that Jesus could lead the nation to independence again.

So in our reading from John 12 for today, Jesus is hailed as a hero on his way into Jerusalem: “Blessed is the king of Israel!” In fact, the crowd is so large and excited that the religious leaders despair that “the whole world has gone after him.”

We can understand why the Jewish people would want to return to their country’s glory days. But Jesus came to be a very different kind of king. He came not so much to wear a crown but to bear a cross. He came to break the curse of sin for our sake, laying down his own life in our place. And that’s how he would welcome all who believe in him to enter God’s kingdom in this broken world. Because he is God, Jesus is and always has been the King of kings and Lord of lords!

Jesus’ coming teaches us that God is not interested in a political agenda, or just one nation, or just one people group. God loves the entire world, and his kingdom purposes are bigger than any of us. As followers of Christ, our citizenship is in the kingdom of heaven, first and foremost, and all of our other goals and desires must fall into place with respect to that.

Father, help me to see that your work is bigger than my city, state, or country, and help me to share your love for the whole world. Amen.

About the author — A.J. Gretz

Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Gretz is a pastor in Grandville, Michigan. He has also served churches in Ohio and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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