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God is Sovereign, Part 3
Characteristics of God, God is Sovereign
Jesus as King
It’s clear throughout Scripture that God is King. He sits on his throne and reigns over everything. But did you know that Jesus is also called King? Jesus also has a throne that he sits on to rule over his kingdom. In fact, one of the main themes of Jesus’s teaching when he was on earth was about the kingdom of God. However, Jesus didn’t just become King after he came to earth. He has reigned with God the Father through all eternity, and he will continue to reign forever.
Jesus as King on Earth
From the time that Jesus was in the womb, he was destined to be a king in the line of David.
Luke 1:19-33: 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
In fact, the people knew him as king of the Jews, even from the time of his birth. This was made known by the Magi who came to worship him at his birth.
Matthew 2:1-2: 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Of course, this made Herod very angry, and he set about to murder all of the male children under 2 years old. But Jesus and his family escaped to Egypt to avoid this fate (Matthew 2:13-18).
As Jesus progressed throughout his ministry, his disciples knew that he was a king and that he was the Son of God.
John 1:49: Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
The fervor that surrounded Jesus as king reached a peak during the last week of his life. On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey. This was predicted in Zechariah.
Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This Old Testament verse is directly tied to the Palm Sunday event in Matthew 21:5. Indeed, as Jesus rode into town, the people hailed him as a king:
Luke 19:35-38: 35 They brought it [the donkey] to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.
37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
The people may have called him a king on Palm Sunday, but just a few days later, they changed their tune. Instead of a cause for celebration, being king was a reason for Jesus to be crucified. During his trial, Pilate asked Jesus if he was the king of the Jews.
Mark 15:2: “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
Pilate never did find anything to accuse Jesus of, but when he asked the Jewish leaders if they wanted him to release Jesus, they had another idea instead.
Mark 15:9-13: 9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
During Jesus’s beating before the crucifixion, the soldiers mocked him with the idea that Jesus was a king.
Mark 15:17-19: 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.
And when he was crucified, his cross held a sign with his charges.
Mark 15:26: The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
The people may have meant all of this as mockery, but little did they know Jesus was really a king of more than just the Jews. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, not only while he was on earth but also when he is in heaven.
Revelation 19:16: On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Jesus as King in Heaven
Now that Jesus has ascended to heaven after his death and resurrection, he sits on a throne and reigns at the right hand of God.
Hebrews 12:2: Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As a king from the line of David, Jesus fulfilled God’s promise to David that a king from David’s line will reign forever.
Isaiah 9:6-7: 6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
The throne that Jesus sits on is in heaven, and he will judge all people from his throne.
Matthew 25:31-33: 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”
In the process of judgment in Matthew 25, the sheep are the ones who followed Jesus and inherit the kingdom. In contrast, the goats are those who did not follow Jesus. They will receive eternal punishment instead.
Even though there are those who did not follow Jesus when they were alive on earth, there will come a time when everyone will recognize Jesus as King and Lord. As we do with earthly royalty, everyone will bow before Jesus as King.
Philippians 2:9-11: 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
This kingdom that Jesus will rule over will last forever.
Revelation 11:15: The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
and he will reign for ever and ever.”
Jesus Preaches about the Kingdom
When Jesus started his ministry, a lot of people who thought of Jesus as king of the Jews were waiting for Jesus to overthrow the government and take his rightful place as king. However, Jesus stated clearly that he was not interested in a kingdom on this earth.
John 18:36: Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
While he was on earth, Jesus shared the good news of the kingdom repeatedly as the main message of his ministry.
Matthew 9:35: Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.
When Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven, he often spoke in parables or made comparisons to something the people could identify with.
Matthew 13:24-30: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed, but an enemy came and sowed weeds. At harvest time, the weeds were collected and burned and then the wheat was harvested and saved.
Matthew 13:44: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he sold everything he had to buy the field.
Matthew 13:45-46: The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When the merchant found one of great value, he sold everything he had to purchase it.
Matthew 13:47-48: The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into a lake. It caught many kinds of fish, and when it was full, the fishermen shorted the good fish from the bad fish.
Matthew 18:23-35: The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wants to settle accounts with his servants. He is merciful to the servant who cannot pay, but when that servant doesn’t return that favor to others, the servant is cast into jail.
Matthew 20:1-16: The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who hired workers. He hires them throughout the day, but in the end, they all receive the same wages.
Matthew 25:1-13: The kingdom of heaven is like 10 virgins who went to meet the bridegroom. Some were ready and brought extra oil, but some did not. Those who brought oil were let in when the bridegroom came, but those who ran out of oil were not let in.
Matthew 25:14-30: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who entrusted his wealth to his servants while he went on a journey. Those who invested the wealth wisely were rewarded and those who did not were punished.
Mark 4:26-29: The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sows seed. The seed grows even though he doesn’t do anything to it.
Luke 13:18-19: The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which grew from a tiny seed to become a large tree.
Luke 13:20-23: The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that works through all the dough.
In general, these parables teach us (at least) four things about the kingdom of heaven:
The kingdom of heaven is of great value.
The kingdom of heaven will continue to grow.
The kingdom of heaven will appear when you least expect it.
Those who belong in the kingdom will be separated from those who do not.
In fact, Jesus clearly taught that not everyone would enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Because of this, Jesus implored people to seek his kingdom first.
Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Jesus even told people how to seek his kingdom. Repent and believe!
Mark 1:15: “The time has come,” he [Jesus] said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
In fact, the message of the kingdom of God was so important that Jesus continued to speak about it after his resurrection.
Acts 1:3: After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
If Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God so consistently, we had better pay attention!
Next week, we’ll look even further into the kingdom of God to conclude our study. In particular, we’ll follow up on the idea that the kingdom of God is for those who believe in him and follow him. I hope you’ll join me!
Each individual characteristic of God study will come with two resources: a word search just for fun (including an answer key), and a list of verses for if you want to investigate that individual characteristic of God more completely.
You can access these resources by clicking here: God Is Sovereign Resources
Or you can download them here: