Having seen His star in the East, certain Magi came to pay special homage to an infant King in the little town of Bethlehem.
There are important questions concerning this King that need to be properly answered in order for people the world over to be blessed by His reign: what kind of a king was He to be? what kind of a kingdom would He establish?
In that day, King Herod presumed that the little King was of the political variety and therefore regarded Him as a threat to his throne. However, the spiritually wise men beheld the little One through eyes of faith as the divine Savior-King. They “fell down and worshiped Him” and brought offerings to Him, as believers are accustomed to do in thanksgiving to their Lord and God.
The evangelist Matthew, who alone records this worshipful encounter, went to great lengths to identify this King as the promised Messiah who had been foretold in Old Testament Scriptures.
In those ancient pages of Holy Writ, the Spirit of God beautifully revealed concerning the promised Christ what manner of King He would be, as well as the nature of His kingdom.
During the Christmas season, the Christian church oftentimes reads from Isaiah chapter 9 where the promised King is referred to as the Mighty God who would establish an everlasting kingdom of peace.
Psalm 72 made known that the Messianic kingdom would be a universal one. It declared concerning the promised King: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. . . . Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him” (vv. 8,11).
The message of a universal kingdom of peace that will last forever is welcome news to sinful man, who is plagued with inner struggles, anxieties, unrest, and with outer conflicts and strife in the home and in the world at large.
The question is, what kind of kingdom can actually bring this inner and outer peace? It is not the utopian dream of a new world order where all the earth’s population will live peaceably together under the rule of one secular government. Due to the sinful, depraved nature that will continue to persist in mankind, there will always be wars and rumors of wars until the very end of time.
Neither will there be a kingdom of peace according to the millennialist’s scheme of thinking. They have Jesus returning to this earth to usher in a golden age of Christianity. According to this thinking Christianity will be a dominant force throughout the world for a thousand years. One of many scriptural reasons why this will not be is Jesus’ clear statement that His kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36).
What then is the nature of Jesus’ kingdom that will bring peace extending across the face of this earth? Jesus testified concerning this kingly reign: “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, See here! or See there! For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Lk. 17:20-21). His is a spiritual reign in the hearts of believers, governing and blessing them with His grace, mercy, and love.
The Lord Jesus imparts to us who are His subjects by faith that inner and outer peace because of what is revealed in 2 Corinthians, where we are told: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them” (5:19).
On account of Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, we experience an inner peace with God in the heart-felt knowledge of God’s all-encompassing forgiveness. And with the redeeming love of our Savior-King being a governing force in our hearts, we are enabled to live peaceably with one another (1 Jn. 4:7-11).
O Jesus, King of Glory, Both David's Lord and Son! Thy realm endures forever, In heav'n is fixed Thy throne. Help that in earth's dominions, Thro'-out from pole to pole, Thy reign may spread salvation To each benighted soul. (TLH 130:1)
–Pastor Mark Gullerud