“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Micah 5:2; quoted in Matthew 2:6
There is so much we learn about our Master Jesus in what we commonly call the Christmas story. By the name given to Him by the Father – Jesus – we know that our Master is the embodiment of the fact that “YHWH saves”. From the prophecy of Isaiah, which the apostle Matthew connected to His birth to a virgin, we learn that our Master is the embodiment of the fact that “God is with us”. These truths we cherish, and these we embrace with gratitude and joy. All throughout Jesus’ mortal life these truths were on display as He taught, healed, and set people free from the kingdom of darkness. The people looking on praised God because they knew He was operating in a new and exciting way through the rabbi and prophet from Nazareth.
One truth about Jesus that most people didn’t see displayed during His earthly life was that He was king and ruler of Israel. As the prophecy quoted above clearly states, the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem would be a ruler who would shepherd Israel. Even more explicitly, the angel Gabriel told Mary that “the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32b-33). Jesus, who saves and comes to dwell among His people, saves and draws near as the sovereign ruler who reigns over them.
As true as this picture of Jesus was and is, it is not the picture that immediately emerged during our Master’s mortal life. He didn’t have the hallmarks of earthly kingship, and He acted more like a servant than a sovereign. It is true that He commanded nature, sickness, and impure spirits, but He commanded no armies and held no court in Israel. Though He had true authority among His own people, He was treated by Israel’s leaders as a liar and a devil. As the apostle John noted, “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).
As you meditate on these truths about your Messiah and King, Disciple, may it encourage you to embrace your true identity in the kingdom of God even when your eyes of flesh and the world around you dismiss or ridicule it. It can be hard to live in the truth of His kingship and your honored place among His servants, and the world around you may never understand it. Yet we are those who are not restricted to what eyes of flesh see. Live in the awareness of your King’s benevolent reign over your life and all lives. Bow your knee and prostrate yourself, paying homage to the glorious King who calls you His beloved and offers to share His kingdom with you forever!
Seeing with greater vision with you,