Reception of the King

Text Isaiah 9:6-7 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”

Within the text is the prophetic promise of the coming of the Messiah, the Son of God. The night of His birth, shepherds received a similar announcement from an angel as they abode in the fields outside Bethlehem. The second thing to be noticed within the text is a perception problem! There are countless individuals that readily perceive and accept the birth of Mary’s son, but not the coming of a Majestic Sovereign. For them, Jesus is forever a babe in a manger and not a king destined for the throne! While the text does refer to Him as “a child” and “a son”; there are more references with respect to the kingly aspect of His coming. In addition to the names by which He is called, there are two references to his “government”, and a reference to a “throne”, and to “his kingdom.” While He made His way through a virgin womb as an infant; that one “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12) was “the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (I Timothy 6:15). On that starry night in the city of David, a King was born; how would the world receive the King?

The wise men embraced Him as royalty; “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). The wise men were learned men from the Eastern nations that had devoted their lives to the study of astronomy, religion, and medicine. They were often admitted into the Persian court to seek their wisdom and counsel in the affairs of state. Some have referred to them as “King Makers.” With respect to the birth of Jesus they received Him as one worthy of their wealth and their worship!

Herod perceived Him as a rival; “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men” (Matthew 2:16). Fearful that this new king would rival his authority and power; Herod set about to destroy the new born king. For Herod, there was a throne at stake!

Pilate met Him with reservations; “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (Matthew 27:11). Pilate was a man with a divided heart; the facts said that Jesus was a just man and not an impostor; yet the pressure of the scribes and Pharisees caused him to have Jesus beaten and scourged with a cat of nine tails. He was a man that would declare Jesus’ innocence one moment and condemn Him to a cross the next. Pilate was a man easily moved by pressure and popularity.

The soldiers responded to Him with ridicule; “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:27-30). They perceived Jesus as an impostor, a joke; one not to be taken seriously! Other men had made similar claims and this man was no different; no rational mind would even entertain the thoughts that Jesus was a king, much less God!

The Jews greeted Him with rejection; “But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). They chose not to even entertain the thoughts of Him!

The thing that should most concern us is not others, but what is our response to the coming of the King? Many chose not to entertain the thoughts of Jesus; at best they perceived Him as merely a figure in history. For some who see Christianity as creative fiction for the faint hearted; Jesus is nothing more than the object of lighthearted entertainment or the butt end of a religious joke. Many are tossed about by the various religious trends of the times. But for those that have found the narrow way, He is embraced and received as royalty. While most chose to turn Him away; for those that chosen to “received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).