Jesus, the True King
Israel had been without a king for a hundred years when the prophet Zechariah spoke of a coming king. Still another five hundred years would pass before the prophecy found its fulfillment in Christ (Matt. 21:5). In the intervening years, enduring the oppression of foreign kings, the Jews came to cherish the hope of a future king who would rule in military might, overthrowing their oppressors and establishing an earthly kingdom. Believing that their king would deliver them from the tyranny of Rome, however, they became, in effect, prisoners of a false hope.
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But God’s plan to liberate his people exceeded anything they could have hoped for. He intended liberation from the tyranny of sin itself. The messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9–13 speaks not of a warring king but of a king who brings an end to war; not of a king dressed in battle regalia and seated on a war horse, but of one humble, seated on a donkey, feet dragging in the dust. No wonder the Jews did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. By earthly standards, he was no king at all.
In fact, however, Jesus is the true King, putting to shame the kings of the earth. Though earthly rulers practice injustice to serve their own ends, this king is righteous. Though earthly rulers serve self-interest at the expense of their subjects, this king brings as his gift salvation itself—offered in utter selflessness, at great expense, for the good of his people. Though earthly rulers are marked by pride, this king is marked by humility.
Believer, rejoice. Your king has come to you—righteous, having salvation, humble.
Believer, rejoice. Your king has come to you—righteous, having salvation, humble. Do not miss what the Jews missed. Deliverance has come for the prisoner in the most unexpected form. His kingdom is a kingdom for those who would, like their king, become “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29); it is a kingdom for the poor in spirit, the meek. Those who are citizens of his kingdom will know the end of tyranny as they tread with joy the path of lowliness he trod.
Because our king came to humble himself, even to the point of death on a cross, the tyrannical reign of sin is ended. No longer must we be ruled by our unrighteousness—our king has come to us in utter righteousness. No longer must we be ruled by our selfish ambition—our king has come to us bearing salvation. No longer must we be ruled by our pride—our king has come to us in gentle humility. Rejoice, believer. Your captivity is ended. Your king has come.
This article is by Jen Wilkin and is adapted from ESV Daily Joy: A Devotional for Women.
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