The twenty-sixth Sunday of Pentecost – November 26, 2023

Holy Trinity Church – Tom Mount

 

Scripture: Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV

Introduction

  • The liturgical logic of Christ the King Sunday: the Church year begins with the first week of Advent and ends with Christ the King Sunday. Then the cycle repeats!
  • Today, I want to consider together the royal authority of our Lord Jesus. Before we do that, we have to go back to the beginning of creation to understand God’s original intent creating humans (Gen 1:26; Ps 115:16).
  • What happened? Adam and Eve abdicated their authority to another created being, the satan figure, who becomes the de facto “god” of this age (2 Cor 4:4).
  • What was God to do? The second Person of the holy Trinity would become a human to restore God’s image in humans and reestablish humanity’s rightful reign over the earth.
  • This involved three movements: Incarnation, Ascension and Return.

Incarnation. The Son of God becomes a “son of man” to reestablish human authority over the earth under God.

  • Our Lord’s entire life can be seen through the lens of his kingly destiny.
  • He was heralded as king at his birth and honored by angels and foreign dignitaries (Mt 2:1-12; Lk 2:9-15). He was anointed as king at his baptism by the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:17). He was acclaimed king by his subjects on Palm Sunday (Mk 11:7-11). He was crucified with a sign over his head declaring he was king (Matt 27:37).
  • Throughout his earthly ministry, He decisively demonstrated his kingly authority: vanquishing his enemies, casting out demons, healing diseases, exercising authority over natural processes, etc. In all these ways, he demonstrated conclusively his divinely given royal authority.
  • Jesus became a human not just to die for our sins on the cross. His becoming a human was essential to reestablish human authority to rule the world at God’s behest.

Ascension. Jesus ascends to heaven to be coronated king by the Father and the divine court and reign “in absentia” for a time over the earth.

  • The prophet Daniel envisioned this: Daniel 7:9-10; 12-13 (cf. Dan 2:31-35; Phil 2:9-11).
  • Jesus now rules in heaven as a human king with all authority (Matt 28:18-20).
  • However, on earth, he reigns “in absentia” through his loyal followers and allows his enemies to oppose him.
  • How does he reign through us? Acts 1:8. His Spirit empowers us to witness, proclaim the Gospel, teach his Word, minister in his Name.
  • We are fully equipped to represent him (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Filled and anointed with his Spirit, empowered with potent spiritual gifts, deputized with divine authority and commissioned as his ambassadors with plenipotentiary power to represent him.
  • Our constant prayer is that Christ’s rule in heaven pervades earth (Matt 6:10).
  • Meanwhile, the enemy pushes back against Christ’s kingdom, furious that his time is short (Rev 12:12). He is like a roaring lion, trying to take us out. So, we will experience Gospel success and disappointing defeats through persecution, compromise and apostasy (e.g., John 16:33; cf. Rev 1:9). This is the nature of warfare.

Return. Jesus comes back to the earth to reign as the rightful King.

  • Lk 19:12: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return.”
  • In the Roman world, the name for the victorious appearance of an emperor or general was parousia (“appearing” or “coming”). When Jesus returns as the victorious king, with great glory, “in flaming fire, with his powerful angels” (2 Thess 1:7), His loyal subjects will be transfigured and “caught up” to “meet him in the air” and escort him back to earth (1 Thess 4:16-17; cf. Matt 24:31; 1 Cor 15:51-52; Phil 3:20-21; Col 3:4).
  • Jesus will judge his enemies and establish his kingdom (Matt 25:31-46). He will “rule with an iron scepter” (e.g., Ps 2:9; cf. Rev 2:27). All creation will be subject to him in perfect righteousness, justice and peace (Isa 9:7; 2 Ptr 2:13).
  • We will reign with him over a beautifully repristinated earth (Rev 2:26-27; 3:21).
  • In this renewed cosmos, there will be no more tears, mourning, crying or pain but sheer joy and unbounded peace (Rev 21:1-22:5). We will live in the eternal embrace of our glorious triune God forever. That is our blessed hope (Titus 2:13)!

Takeaways

  • Jesus, the High King of Heaven, is worthy of our adoration and trust! Let’s oppose everything that stands in opposition to him and give him our total allegiance and love.
  • If we overcome, we will reign with him over a restored earth. Don’t get discouraged by set-backs. Seek him and his kingdom and obey his leadings. You are his ambassador with plenipotentiary authority to represent him the roles to which he calls you.