Continuing this week to look at what we mean when we call Jesus Christ “king”. It’s the great theme of our Christmas carols, we hear about it, we sing about it, but what exactly does it mean? It means we are looking at the world reimagined.
“And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.””
It was about 20 years after the resurrection. Paul and Silas have come into Macedonia, in northern Greece. They have come to the city of Thessalonica. As is Paul’s practice, he is going to preach three sabbaths in a row at the Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica. He was preaching a
Much like today, some believed. Some Jews, and some of the God-fearing Greeks who worshipped with the Jews, became the first believers in Thessalonica. But others fought against this, and went into the marketplace, assembled a mob, and went looking for these preachers of this Jesus of Nazareth whom they called king. They went looking for them, and found they had been received and were staying as guests at the home of a man named Jason. When the mob got there, they did not find Paul or Silas, but they violently dragged Jason before the city authorities. And this is accusation they made –
So here’s the question – was (is) this charge true? Did the early Christians proclaim another
But new politics? That’s dangerous. Though the first century world was awash in many kinds of religions, covering the whole spectrum (any kind you could want), there was only on political scheme. That was the Roman Empire. So the question is, in the light of the resurrection (everything falls upon that), did the early Christians radically reimagine the world? Did the early Christians say “
The answer is “yes”. That’s exactly what the proclaimed. It’s exactly what the gospel was, and it’s exactly what the gospel is. Jesus is now King. That’s what we mean when we call Jesus “Christ”, is that he’s “king”. But there’s a story to go along with it, because
After the days of Noah, the world goes on being just as it was before, corrupt and violent. So God decides to move in a different direction, and he calls a man, Abraham. He makes Abraham a promise. He says that “
Then they ended up slaves in Egypt. But God remembered his promise and acted in their behalf, and in the days of Moses brought them out. At Mt Sinai, he gave them the Torah, the law, and the covenant. And now they are truly being formed into the peculiar, special people of God.
Centuries later, they ask for a king. They are given a king, the first king Saul, but he is rejected, so we come to David. God makes a promise to David, just as he had to Abraham. He said
“But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a Temple to honor my name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will secure the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’”
Israel’s calling is to a people of God, to be light unto the nations, to show the world the other way. But they mostly fail at it. They mostly become just like all the other nations. And then in Bethlehem…
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Isaiah’s prophecies are true and Israel’s Messiah is now the world’s true king, this is the Gospel, the
This is the gospel they preached. This is what they went about announcing.