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The King of Glory

What Kind of King
/ Part
April 1, 2022
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What kind of King?

Many of the people of Jerusalem who saw Jesus arrive were looking for a king. Mark 11:8 says, "And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields." This act of placing cloaks or palm branches on the road was an act used to honor a king.

What kind of king were they expecting? The Jews of Israel had lived under the heavy boot of the Roman legions for a century. Since the 5th century BC - well before Rome - the Holy Land had been a pawn of ravenous empires like Egypt, Assyria and Persia. Each new Empire brought it's own rules, but all of them either suppressed Judaism, or co-opted it as a means of control. When the Romans showed up they extracted taxes and resources and crushed any opposition - but this was nothing new for Jews.

This angst ridden society of the invisible and the powerless is the actual experience of the first century Jews. They were pawns in a larger game. Their leaders and rulers saw them as stepping stones. There was little concern for justice outside of keeping peace. Indeed, Herod had slaughtered all the children in Bethlehem with no apparent repercussions from his Roman overlords. Was it any wonder the Jewish people were looking for a new king?

At the heart of the yearning of the Jews for a messiah was the search for a good king. Jesus must have seemed like a very good king indeed. They saw him heal lepers, cast out demons, and even raise the dead. They heard Him say that the poor would be blessed and the meek would inherit the earth. They remembered their most famous "good king" in David, and the prophecy that David's kingdom would not end. So they cast their cloaks before Jesus, the good-king-candidate, and cried out:

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mark 11:10

"Here's hoping," they seemed to say. Even though Jesus had been trying to tell them for 3 years that His kingdom was not of this world, still they yearned for the earthly justice of a good king. They were willing to submit to His earthly rule. They were ready to take up the obligation subjects to see their King throw off the Roman legions. This would mean taxes, military service and obedience to the new king, but how could it be worse that what they already suffered? This grand misconception of the mission of Jesus led some of these same citizens to later condemn Him to the cross! If He was not to be the kind of King they wanted, then He could be no kind of king at all.

But Jesus was no usurper to the throne. He was already king of heaven and earth and His claim was irrefutable. He was not a potential warlord in some Roman backwater province. He created the seven hills of Rome and probably thought "Hmmm.... I think Italy should look like a boot," and so it was! He wasn't showing up as some contender hoping to gain enough followers to affect change. He was there to revolutionize hearts. They didn't know it yet, but Jesus' plan was bigger than simply bringing earthly justice. He was only a few days away from calmly telling Pilate, "You have no authority except what is given you from above."

The problem with the good citizens of Jerusalem was not that they had grand plans that would fail at Jesus' arrest. Their problem was they thought so small they could not see what was really in front of them. Jerusalem was playing host to the King of Glory, the Lord of Hosts (Psalms 24:9-10) - and their thoughts could not rise above dabbling in insurrection. Jesus' mission was not insurrection against Rome. He came to destroy the insurrection of sin and restore the rightful king to His rightful place in our hearts.


Ok fine - Jesus is the King of glory and the people of Jerusalem had it wrong. What does this mean for us?  We have some of the same misconceptions. What do we think it means for Jesus to "rule"? Do we think of Jesus as a tool - a powerful force we can appeal to when we need Him? Are we looking for a political king? Are we looking for a king that guarantees the good life? A king that dispenses justice for wrongs (or at least for those who have wronged us)? Or do we submit to Him as Lord, with unreserved trust? The people of Jerusalem were willing to submit to King Jesus as long as he fulfilled certain expectations. They wanted a transaction - obligation met for services rendered.

In the brilliant satire, "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis, an elder demon instructs a younger demon on the art of temptation. In Chapter 4 he tells his young apprentice to keep his victim praying to an imagined image of God - a crucifix, a feeling or a caricature instead of the true God, a searing light of radiant royalty and holiness. If the subject ever casts off his preconceptions and sees God as He is, then all hope is lost. This was the position of the Jews of Jerusalem. They settled for caricature as king and failed to see the living God. And this is where we find ourselves as well quite often. We settle for a lesser image of God that suites our needs rather than a living and holy creator. Yet, we become like Him when we see Him as He is rather than our notion of what he aught to be.  (1 John 3:2)

Next week for Easter we will talk about Jesus' kingship as He went to the cross. For now let's think about what it means in the everyday life of a Christian. The life of a believer is relational, not transactional. We know Jesus, speak with Him, and trust Him. Our relationship with a living Jesus is our daily bread. Yet He is still our King. When we make him "Lord" of our life we are abandoning transaction and choosing to trust! We are trusting in our good king to act in love and righteousness.


  1. What does it mean that Jesus is the ruler of your life? What are you expectations for Jesus the king?
  2. Sometimes we gather in all the grace and blessings of a relationship with Jesus without any sense of awe at our position within that relationship. We sort of follow Jesus for the loaves and the fishes rather than an act of submission.  Do you think of Jesus as Lord? Do you follow Jesus without letting Him make any demands on you, His subject?


Our challenge this week is to pray each day, "Lord let me see you as you are. Help me to cast off my notions of what you aught to be and search for the true and living Christ." Journal each day and see what God will reveal to you!

The King of Glory