THE BIRTH OF THE KING OF KINGS
When Jesus was born, Herod ruled Judea with an iron fist. He was a megalomaniac, anxious to assert his power and to hold onto prominence. An example of how full of himself he was: As his death approached, Herod gave orders for several prominent citizens of Israel to be arrested, with instructions for them to be executed as soon as he died. Herod feared that the nation would celebrate at the news of his death; the execution of prominent citizens would guarantee that people would weep at his death.
Into that world came the promise of the birth of a new king—a different kind of king!
When Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, she sang out her praise to the God who had authority over the rulers of this earth: “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name….He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed” (Luke 1:49 & 52-53).
Herod tried his best to get rid of Jesus, because he did not want any other king to dislodge him. But one of the great messages of Christmas is that no ruler can usurp God, and no power can keep God out.
As the early church began to expand into the ancient world, the worship of the emperor was being pushed throughout the Roman Empire. At the entrance of the emperor in triumphal processions, citizens of Rome would cry out, “Worthy art thou!” The emperors took for themselves the title, “Lord of lords and king of kings.” Domitian (81-96 A.D.) went so far as to require that he be introduced as “Our lord and god.”
Into that world the apostle John sent a letter to seven churches in Asia Minor in which the proclamation is made that Jesus is the One who is “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16). Emperors might make that boast, but the emphasis of the entire book of Revelation is that there is only One who wields true authority over this earth, and that One is the baby who was born in Bethlehem who died for us on a cross and who will come again to hold our destiny in His hands.
What John wanted to make clear to early believers who were being severely persecuted for their faith was that they need not fear what the kings of this earth might do to them for their eternal destiny was held safely and securely by the King who holds authority over every ruler and power forever!
At times, we may fear happenings or powers in this world, but we don’t need to fear them too much because the One who is truly King of kings and Lord of lords, holds us safely and securely in His care!