Merry Christmas! I pray that you and yours are preparing for a wonderful Christmas.
We began last week referencing all the miracles that have occurred, are occurring, and will occur because of Jesus. The portion of miracles that we looked at last week fall under an aka, also known as, Emmanuel, meaning God with us.
Today, we will look to Jesus as the King of the Jews. Jesus is referred to as the King of the Jews two times in scripture. One at the time of his birth as the Magi seek him in Matthew. The other, is at his trial and subsequent crucifixion in Mark 15:2, where Pilate asks Jesus if he is indeed the King of the Jews. It is important to note that only non-Jews use this title to describe Jesus. There is a reason for this. We find it in John 1:11,
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
Remember, it was Pilate asking the crowd, if they want him to release Jesus? The crowd says no, they’d rather have Barabbas.
Ultimately they shout for Jesus to be crucified. As they shouted, “We have no king but Caesar”. This was also the time that that Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" A monumental moment in history, as Pilate asks the author of all Truth, God's Word, about truth.
All of this, seemingly long ago history, though sad, is very important and relevant for us today.
Just take a look at what is happening in Israel today. So many people say that it doesn’t matter, it is a far away place. Others say that it is good what happened. The Jews had it coming, raping and beheading teenage girls is OK. Beheading babies in front of their mothers, then raping and beheading the mothers is OK. It’s so OK that we’ll film it, because we’re proud of doing this.
This is not OK. Do you think this pleases God? Do you think this pleases Jesus? Do you think this pleases the saints and the martyrs in heaven? The Host in heaven is ready. They are wanting God to release them and send Jesus at the lead of his second coming. But it’s not time yet. The Jews have to repent and return to Jesus. They have to accept the Messiah that they rejected long ago, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Then, just like all of the disciples, when Jesus sat them down after his resurrection, Luke 24:45,
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
The Jewish people, as will the whole world, at some point, realize that it is not just God that is in the Old Testament, but Jesus as well. Are we in the end times? We are closer today than yesterday. We are closer today than we were a year or a decade ago. I will put forth this guess, we will be close when Christian revival breaks out among the Jewish populations scattered around the world. But I’m getting ahead of the story.
Today’s message is about why this is all happening this way. It has to do with promises from God to king David. These promises are known as the Davidic Covenant. But whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself again, let’s get to our focus passage today.
We are focusing on Matthew, chapter 2:2-3,
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”’
The title King of the Jews has both messianic and political implications. Messiah means “Anointed One”. Historically, in Israel kings were anointed with oil as a sign of God’s choosing. As the Son of David, the Messiah was chosen by God to fulfill the Davidic Covenant and rule on the throne in Jerusalem.
When the Magi came to Jerusalem seeking the King of the Jews, they were probably looking for a political leader, for the Magi were Gentiles. But the Jews in Jerusalem, hearing who the Magi sought, they would have thought of their long-anticipated Messiah.
The Davidic Covenant refers to God’s promises to David through the prophet Nathan and is found in 2 Samuel 7, then later summarized in 1 & 2 Chronicles. It is an unconditional covenant made between God and David. The Davidic Covenant centers on several key promises that are made to David. First, God reaffirms the promise of the land that he made in the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. 2 Samuel 7:10,
“And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore…”
God then promises that David’s son will succeed him as king of Israel and that his son (Solomon) would build the temple. 2 Samuel 7:12-13,
“When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, (and here comes the interesting part) and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
Listen as Nathan continues in 2 Samuel 7:16,
“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
Wow, an everlasting kingdom, a promise from God, a kingdom for eternity. Gee, I wonder who the eternal King in this eternal kingdom will be? Jesus, of course.
Can we all agree that this is important? Can we all agree that this is relevant?
God has promised this land to Israel. God has also promised an eternal kingdom. Can you just imagine the minds of the disciples open up as they begin to see the role of Jesus in this Old Testament Davidic Covenant? This is the same land that Israel and Hamas are fighting over today. This is the land that God promised David.
We have talked about Jesus and we have mentioned The Magi, but there is one more character that we need to look at closely, king Herod.
Herod the Great ruled from 37 B.C. until 4 B.C. He was appointed king of Judea by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C., and finally gained control three years later. Like most rulers of his day, he was ruthless, murdering his wife, his three sons, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, and many others, including the babies, when he could not find the infant Jesus.
My study Bible tells me something else, Herod was an Idumean. Another way of saying this is that Herod was an Edomite, someone from Edom. By the way, Idumean in Hebrew means silent death.
Israel and Edom go back, as a long standing blood feud. The conflict actually goes back to two sibling rivalries–between Abraham’s sons Ishmael and Isaac and then Isaac’s sons Esau and Jacob. Esau and his descendants are Edomites.
For centuries the people of Edom acted maliciously against the Israelites, attacking them and encroaching on the Israelites territory. The land of Edom eventually encompassed the southern half of Judea. It will come as no surprise that many of the Palestinians in the terror group Hamas are of Idumean ancestry.
It should be of no surprise that Hamas would kill babies as they did. They are doing exactly what their ancestor Herod the Great did. My guess would be they planned it that way. This is why Edomites around the world celebrated. The Israelites and the Edomites will contest this land right up until the return of Christ. It has been foretold by God. Obadiah 15-18,
“The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head. Just as you drank on my holy hill, so all the nations will drink continually; they will drink and drink and be as if they had never been. But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance. The house of Jacob will be a fire and the house of Joseph a flame; the house of Esau will be stubble, and they will set it on fire and consume it. There will be no survivors from the house Esau.
The Lord has spoken.”
Jesus as King of the Jews is not a forgotten title to the Lord. And like every other verse of scripture in the Bible, the verses in Obadiah will come true.
I know that we all like to tell the Christmas stories that we all like to hear. I understand that. But, as your preacher, when the Holy Spirit gives me a message, I preach it. Sometimes the message is soft and inspiring. Other times the message is difficult to hear, and might make everyone uncomfortable. Like today’s message.
This year, we need to hear the rest of the story, as a great storyteller used to say. We need to know the truth.
Allow me to give you a couple positive takeaways.
Before the birth of Christ there was just sin and death. Satan controlled the world as he still does, and those at war with God opposed God and his people Israel. With Christ’s birth came God’s love and forgiveness. This light entered the dark world and at the cross won a great victory for the eternity of man.
This is the same war in Israel that has been taking place for centuries, thousands of years. This is nothing new. Yet, we are acting surprised that it is taking place. You should not be surprised, we know the truth. The truth that you hear no one mention. This is the land that God originally promised to David. This is the land for the King of the Jews. This war is the eternal struggle between good and evil. More accurately, this is the war between love and hate. The love of Jesus verses the hate of Satan. Thank God for Jesus. This is all a miracle. We should be thankful for our king.
Which brings me to the second positive takeaway, which is simply that Jesus is coming., and not just as the King of the Jews, but as the King of kings.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony Church