Christ is our king. But Americans don't do kingship. The last time we had a king was in 1776. We threw him out after a real tea party. And we put firm safeguards in our Constitution to ensure no new king would ever rise here again. We admire kings and queens from afar, in Victorian books, BBC movies, and televised royal weddings. But at home we don't deal with kings and queens.

So for many democratic citizens today—in the United States and worldwide—the Bible's talk of kings and kingdoms can be mystifying. But such talk, if we read the Bible carefully, actually makes a great deal of sense even in our political setting.

A Strange Sovereign

The Bible teaches that Christ the King is infinitely more powerful than any ruler on earth, even the Roman emperor or the Jewish King Herod, who were the supreme rulers of Christ's day. These earthly kings ruled only for a lifetime. Christ rules eternally. These earthly kings ruled only over a limited territory. Christ rules everywhere. These earthly kings had only political power. Christ has power over all creation. He orders the waves to be still. He turns water into wine. He feeds five thousand from one boy's lunch bag. He heals the sick. He restores the disabled. He drives out demons from their tormented hosts. He summons corpses from their graves. And when Christ rose from his own tomb, he made resurrection and eternal life available to all who believe in him. This was no ordinary king.

But for all this infinite and eternal power, Christ's incarnation as king is modest, understated, sublime, and sacrificial. Christ was born not in a palace but in a stable, close to the ground, surrounded by animals and shepherds. He did not travel with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.