Kingly Control

1 Samuel 8:4–9, Psalm 24, Jeremiah 23:1–6, Matthew 21:1–9, 1 Timothy 6:12–16 (read online ⧉)

One of Jesus’ titles is King of Kings. In our day and age kings are more of a symbolic position, so it has become difficult for us to understand the significance of this title. We can only intellectually understand the power that many kings had over their people. If you were to read beyond the outlined passage in 1 Samuel, he (Samuel) outlines the power the kings have over the people. If we go back to Joseph in the story of Genesis, by the time Joseph was done, the Pharaoh had everything, including the people.

What is interesting is that there seems to be a strong human desire to put itself under a strong person…even a commanding one. If that were not the case, we would not continually see dictators and totalitarian regimes. We can regularly look at history and see people turning towards it. Even with the last two presidents of the US, we all heard language that puts them in a salvific role, one that isn’t theirs.

Much of this desire is a feeling (right or wrong) of security, or at least that this would be more secure than the current circumstances. People turn to others that appear to have the power to control (not necessarily change) things, in hopes that these people can control bad circumstances.

The struggle that many people had with Jesus was that he didn’t take control. His triumphant entry or the time the people wanted to crown him, he never took up the scepter of power. Instead, he took a path of peace. When he entered Jerusalem on a donkey, he entered as a king of peace. Had he come riding a warhorse, he would have been coming in power to take power. Many people wanted this. Their own tyrant was better, so they thought, than a tyrant of Rome. It’s not to say that Jesus would have been a tyrant, but that the people would have preferred one of their blood on a bloody throne, then keep the Romans.

Today, one of the common arguments against believing that there is a God, especially a loving one, is that this God hasn’t taken control, just like God hadn’t taken control in Samuel’s day.

1) Have you ever witnessed someone submitting to another person who was in power? Why? Did you support or did you question?

2) How does Jesus use power differently than “earthly” powers? How does this inform you of how to use power? How does this inform you how you should discern how others use power?

3) What does Jesus being King of kings mean to you? What does being a king mean to you?