A Christmas Meditation
There’s a recurring theme – both in scripture and in literature where the king, for various reasons, winds up incognito among the people. But even then the king cannot long be hidden. But being incognito for a time is of course a great setup for a dramatic revelation of the king to the people – (though sometimes the revelation is so subtle it goes over the head of the people as in John 6.29-30). But often the revelation is made when the king does something that only a king can, thus revealing his true identity. This is doubly true for the King of Creation – who did many things only the Creator and thus only the rightful king could do.
But since the king came incognito and is hard for some to see, many religions claim a false king. And atheists claim there is no king. But Christianity makes a unique claim. It claims the Creator, the King entered his creation, though for a time he was incognito. Not all religions claim that the God who created every created thing himself entered into that creation and interacted with it. Such a creator, the true King of all creation cannot be mistaken for those seeking him.
So for this Christmas meditation we’re going to meditate on how difficult or easy it would be to identify the king, the creator, were he to enter into his creation. For those really interested, the true king is not hard to identify.
Revelations of the King
There are number of such depictions of the revelation or recognition of the king in art. One is above – captured in stained glass – the moment Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and is recognized by the people as the King. There are also Hollywood depictions, one being in the movie “The Adventures of Robin Hood” depicted below. King Richard the rightful king has been off fighting in the crusades and returns to find his brother the wicked John attempting to steal the throne. He returns home, traveling incognito, and is found posing as merely a stranger in a strange land by Robin and his men. When Robin learns the king has returned and is in danger from the murderous, usurping brother of the king he immediately orders a search for the king in order that he be found and protected.
King Richard observes Robin in this and notes with admiration the loyalty and zeal of Robin and his men as he does the appropriate thing and does the big reveal: removes his black garments that hide the royal tunic and emblems and reveals himself as the king and acknowledges he is already in good hands.
That is of course the flashy Hollywood way of making the revelation but often it is not that flashy, but it can be just as dramatic. Here’s another similar moment for you Lord of the Rings fans: think of the council of Elrond during “The Fellowship of the Ring“, where Legolas, a prince himself, reveals that Strider, the mysterious Ranger, is none other than Aragon, son of Arathorn, an heir of Isildor the King and thus the rightful heir to the throne of Gondor. (Note the shock on Boromir’s face when he learns that his father, the “Stewart” of Gondor, is sitting on the throne of the true and living king standing there before him. But I digress.)
To return to point, in fact often times, the revelation of the king comes with no glamour or glitter at all. Consider the revelation of the risen Christ to Thomas behind closed doors – so no glitz, no glamour, no big crowds – just the other apostles. (Thomas had missed the first revelation to the apostles (John 20.24)). When Jesus returns (apparently just for Thomas), at the moment Thomas sees the wounds in his hands and sides, he recognizes it is in fact the risen Jesus, who must therefore also be the risen King (or Lord) and thus he proclaims:
“Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
So as I noted above, the recognition of/revelation of the King is a recurring theme in literature and scripture. The fact that the person in charge like a king is easily identified (with or without a big “reveal” scene) was again impressed on me when I watched the latest of the “FBI” crime dramas spin-offs for the first time. I came in the middle of the episode, in the middle of the season. I didn’t know who any of the characters were. But within a couple of minutes, I knew who was in charge. He was the one giving orders, who people came to ask clearance to do things, who spoke to other authorities as if he himself had the authority to make decisions for his group on behalf of the agency. I saw no insignia, no badge, heard no title, and saw no corner office. But the leader of the group was as clear as if he was sitting in the oval office of the White house with a sign on his desk “The Buck stops here.”
When you consider the extraordinary life of Jesus, unless you’re intentionally trying to deny the truth (as atheists do), you can’t help but conclude that identifying who he is is likewise just as easy. Because all the signs, all the indications that royalty was on earth incognito, were there. Let’s review a few of them.
The Revelation of the Royal Announcement
There are many revelations of the King in scripture. So many I hardly know where to begin. I could, for example, start with the many predictions of his coming (Gen 49.10, Mic 5.2, Is 7.14, 9.6-7) etc. But let me jump in at his arrival. As is appropriate for any dignitary, his arrival was announced formally by an official from the place he was from:
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
The shepherds who received the announcement may have doubted their eyes from the appearance of a single angel, which is perhaps one reason the Lord allowed allowed a large number of the heavenly angels to appear at that time and give glory at the announcement:
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
We could stop right here and declare all other claims to be from impostors, thieves and robbers. For this sign of the King cannot be missed if you’re looking for it.
Was the birth of Muhammad, Buddha, Zoroaster or any cult leader or religious leader thus foretold in scripture, and then announced by a company of heavenly angels? No. We can conclude right here that that Jesus is of course the long awaited King. But we’ll continue.
Revelations in the Heavens
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
How did wise men in the east know the King was coming? And how did they know the King of the universe was the King of the Jews? I cover these questions in a previous meditation: Star of Bethelehem – Divine Preparation for the Incarnation. Let it suffice to note that no other religious leader – not Muhammad, not anyone but Jesus – had his birth foretold in the stars, in a manner that was recognized by wisemen who rode to meet him. Once again the signs of the King cannot be missed.
Recognized from Birth
Some claim that Jesus just arranged events so it would appear his life fulfilled them. How do you arrange the stars in the heaven to point to your birth? How do you arrange for prophets to greet you at the time of your birth before you can even form such a thought? Consider Simeon (Luke 2.25-35) and (Anna Luke 2.36-38). They were there to greet the King at his birth because it was revealed to them from the beginning that the King was arriving.
Where are the prophets who greeted the baby Muhammad at his birth? There were none because, according to the word of the Lord, Jesus is the last one God sent (Matt 21.37), and thus Muhammad is a nobody who will be considered “least in the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matt 5.19) (meaning he won’t be there).
Revelations of the King of Creation
The clearest picture we have that Jesus is the King, the creator, is the revelation of the life he lived. When you own a car you act like you own it. You take it where you want. You repair it as necessary. You allow it to be used by others if that is your will. To your car, you’re the king. To all creation, Jesus is the King.
Consider the life of Jesus. Throughout his life he clearly acts like he is the Creator and thus the King. If you didn’t know he was the Creator you would be justified in concluding he is because he acted like the Creator and had the miracles accompanying his signs to prove it:
– Jesus banishes illness wherever he goes (Matt 8.16, 12.15). It is appropriate that the Creator would restore his creation, including people, back to health wherever he went.
– He demonstrates the miracle of creation by creating bread and fish. This was a miracle so spectacular it is one of the few recorded by all gospel writers. (Matt 14.13-21, Mark 6.30-44, Luke 9.10-17, John 6.1-14) (Don’t let commentators who talk of “multiplying” the fish and loaves distract you. If a man and wife “multiply” themselves to a family of four, how do they do it? By creating children. Talk of “multiplication”, in my view, misses the point of creation.)
– He commands nature: seas, storms (Matt 4.39), trees (Mark 11.21).
– He commands illness to depart at a distance (Matt 8.5-13).
– Jesus is Lord of life and banishes death at will (Luke 7.12 – 15, John 11.25-26, 39-44 ). (Not to mention himself rising from the dead (Matt 28.6) which is a claim literally no one else in the world can make.
– He commands the fish of the sea (Luke 5.5-10; John 21.6).
– He changes the nature of his creation at will: water to wine (John 2.6-10), walking on water (John 6.19).
– He has knowledge only God has (John 1.47-51) and wisdom that cannot be refuted (Mark 12.34).
– He departed as the Creator (he ascended to heaven Acts 1.9-11).
When Considered in Totality
When you consider the totality of his life, the picture is crystal clear:
- The arrival of Jesus was announced like a King.
- He was greeted as a King on the night of his arrival, and for some time after.
- As an adult, he commanded all the subjects of his kingdom, both animate and inanimate, as a king would – with total authority. And he rightfully expected to be obeyed and was obeyed.
- He conquered death and yet gave himself up that others might live (1 Pe 3.18).
- And when his mission was completed he ascended into heaven and sat down on the right hand of God (Mark 16.19).
The evidence is clear. Just as I didn’t need someone to say “I’m in charge here” to recognize who was in charge in the FBI show, for those who are looking for evidence that Jesus is King and Creator, there is overwhelming evidence. And I’m speaking of evidence beyond his proclamations that he is in fact the messiah (John 4.25-26; Mark 14.61-62, John 10.24-25). Jesus’ identity is beyond dispute. If anyone cannot see that it is because:
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Cor 4.4
This is a very serious thing, for as another prophet says:
“…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”
Many atheists who proclaim themselves wise will find themselves suffering with the rich man (Luke 16.19-31) in torment in hell because they, like him, were too proud to acknowledge the coming of the King, though the signs are abundant and clear.
Worse, the alphabet soup of today’s “isms” is leading many young people astray. From violent Marxists, to sneaky-as-serpents LGBTQ whisperers whispering their lies into the ears and hearts of the young, to CRT fabrications; many youth have been and are even now being led astray. It will be bad for the young led astray, but worse for those leading them astray. Jesus said:
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
Take heed to the warning. The King has come. And he is coming again to take home his own as he promised (John 14.2-3). Don’t be left behind. The revelations are clear. Stop listening to the lies of people who are binding themselves to hell and look at Jesus’ life. He obviously is the Creator. He is clearly the King. Recognize that and save your eternal soul from the torment the rich man found himself in. Save yourself by confessing Jesus as King and Savior and following him all the days of your life. And in that new life, celebrate the revelation of the King to the world in the baby in a manger in Bethlehem.