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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Advent 2: Waiting for a king

"He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." (2 Samuel 7:13)

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, his ancestor King David was promised that one day some one from his family line would become the eternal King. Unlike any other king, this king would rule forever. He would never be supplanted. He would never die. He would always be in charge, always be reigning.

If Jesus being a baby is offensive, then his claim to be the everlasting King is surely more so. At the start of the Christmas story, even before Jesus has done anything, his claim to be a King is already causing division. Herod's reaction to his birth is violent: he is so disturbed by the thought of someone coming to take away his own power that he orders the murder of all male children under the age of two. He is so afraid of someone else being in charge that he attempts to stamp out any future kings and he is willing to take any means necessary to do so.

And then we have the Magi, the wise men. In total contrast to the fear and angry of Herod, these powerful rulers are filled with joy at the thought of Jesus as their king. When they see him, they immediately bow down to worship him and give him gifts that are symbolic of the King he will become. Even though Jesus is just a baby, they recognise that what God said to Mary is true: here is one who will reign forever. 

What about us? How do we react to Jesus as King? We are not people who like authority. We love to criticise politicians and those in power. We want them to take the flack, we want them to sort everything out but, if I'm honest, I don't really want anyone to tell me what to do. I don't want anyone to make decisions that are going to affect my life and force me to change anything. But this is exactly what Jesus does: calling him King means putting him in charge. It means that today is not my own. My time is not my own. Calling Jesus King means joyful surrender; it means handing over to the one who promises to reign well and reign forever. Is that something I'm willing to do this morning?

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