What Kind of King Do You Serve?

Last Summer, when we were in Thailand waiting for Maranatha's arrival, we were able to take part in the celebration of the King of Thailand's sixty years as monarch of that country. The Thai people LOVE their King. They turned out in droves all over the country to celebrate, to show their support, and to have a chance to leave a flower, flag, or note to commemorate his reign.

Christians sing songs and teach lessons that center on Jesus as King. "All Hail King Jesus", "Crown Him With Many Crowns", and "Majesty" are all titles that speak to the Kingship of Christ. But not everyone who calls his/herself a Christian has actually acknowledged Jesus as the Lord of his/her life. There are different kinds of Kings in this world, ranging from the Elvis (the "King of Rock & Roll") to the current Queen Elizabeth to absolute monarchs, such as King Solomon or Henry VIII. I want to explore these different kinds of Kings, and ask you:
What kind of King is Jesus in your life?

An "Elvisy" King Jesus
This treatment of Jesus is evidenced when you hear things like, "I think Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, and I can appreciate Him for that." Spoken by secularists and cultural Christians alike, these people write off the Savior of the World by relegating Him to the position of someone we can all learn from. In a way that sounds like the way people talk about Elvis, they say, "whether or not I like his particular style, we can all admit that he contributed important things to the world, thoughts, ideas, and themes that changed the world in a big way."

Sadly, I think most people in the world treat Jesus this way. He's an important man of history, and they certainly know his name and a few things about him, and would even go see a free exhibit about him, but as far as having a strong commitment to Him,
forget about it!

King Jesus as Figurehead
This treatment of Jesus can be likened to the British Kingdom's treatment of modern royalty, like their current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth. The monarch is watched, praised, and resides in a palace, removed from the everyday lives of his/her 'subjects'. As a titular head, this is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. This ruler does not issue edicts or make demands on those who are 'ruled'. While subjects to this kind of ruler appreciate him/her as an important person in their lives, this kind of King does not actually affect real life. There may be an emotional attachment to this person as "King" or "Queen", but this monarch is not ruler over their lives.

And isn't this exactly the way many of us approach Jesus? He is the King that we will worship and praise on special occasions (perhaps every Sunday, but at least He'll get a nod a couple times a year--on Easter and Christmas, if the Easter Bunny & Santa don't distract us too much). But He will issue no demands on our lives, and even if He did, we regard Him as a figurehead, so His edicts carry no weight. He will have no say in the decisions and details of our lives, and so He is simply a nicety in our life, who will not really affect our everyday lives.

Jesus as King of My Life
We must do more than pay lip service to Jesus. He is not just a King in name- but He is the sovereign King over all things, whether or not we recognize Him. I'm reminded of this scene, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (I beg your indulgence, as this is one of the most funny scenes on the silver screen), as King Arthur approaches two peasants who do not acknowledge his Kingship:
ARTHUR:
How do you do, good lady? I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Who's castle is that?
WOMAN:
King of the who?
ARTHUR:
The Britons.
WOMAN:
Who are the Britons?
ARTHUR:
Well, we all are. We are all Britons, and I am your king.
WOMAN:
I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
DENNIS:
You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship: a self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes--
WOMAN:
Oh, there you go bringing class into it again.
DENNIS:
That's what it's all about. If only people would hear of--
ARTHUR:
Please! Please, good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle?
WOMAN:
No one lives there.
ARTHUR:
Then who is your lord?
WOMAN:
We don't have a lord.
ARTHUR:
What?
DENNIS:
I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week,...
ARTHUR:
Yes.
DENNIS:
...but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting...
ARTHUR:
Yes, I see.
DENNIS:
...by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,...
ARTHUR:
Be quiet!
DENNIS:
...but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more major--
ARTHUR:
Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!
WOMAN:
Order, eh? Who does he think he is? Heh.
ARTHUR:
I am your king!
WOMAN:
Well, I didn't vote for you.
ARTHUR:
You don't vote for kings.
WOMAN:
Well, how did you become King, then?
ARTHUR:
The Lady of the Lake,... [angels sing] ...her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king!
DENNIS:
Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR:
Be quiet!
DENNIS:
Well, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR:
Shut up!
DENNIS:
I mean, if I went 'round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!
ARTHUR:
Shut up, will you? Shut up!
King Arthur ends up leaving them to argue amongst themselves to search for someone who will acknowledge him as King and respond to Him. And that is what Jesus does. 2Chronicles 16:9 says, "the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him." He desires communion and fellowship with those who acknowledge Him as the rightful King of their lives. Will you be one whose heart is fully committed to serving this King of Glory?

The kind of King Jesus that ought to be in our lives is not only a sovereign King- one who reigns
and rules, but one Who is also our personal King. Like King Arthur's historical "Knights of the Round Table", we ought to be servants of the King who will give everything we have- our resources, our time, and our very lives-- to serve Him. We ought to be committed to fighting for Him, pursuing the things in the world that He deems important, and ready to obey His every command- whether large or small. His Word will reach into every area of our lives at one time or another, and we must submit ourselves to it. Let's give more than lip service to this Victorious King. Let's read His Word and delightfully obey!

3 comments:

dcrmom said...

Jess, this is awesome. I know, I say that to every one of your posts. But really, you have such a gift. Thanks for sharing that.

Shamgar said...

Wow Jess, I'm really impressed. I've never seen anyone make a good application of Monty Python to the Christian life. Hehe. *AND* it works. It breaks down a bit at the end with the weakness of his authority - but I think there is another aspect of that scene that's applicable though not as pleasant.

Dennis and the Woman are collecting excrement as if it were something of value. In fact, just before the scene starts she calls to Dennis and tells him "There's some lovely filth down here."

Professing to be wise, they have become fools. :-)

Jess said...

Glad you appreciated the MP quote, Shamgar. :) I did notice the weakness of his authority thing, but I actually thought of it just like it actually is with Christ- that He IS the King whether or not the filthy peasants acknowledge it, and He will give you the opportunity to acknowledge it or move on to someone else.

I LOVE Monty Python...