Jesus the King

Third Sunday of Advent

By Rev. Dr. Brent Russett – Asbury Free Methodist

Matthew 2:1-12 — December 17th, 2023

            This Advent, we have been looking at the roles of Jesus. He came as a prophet – to deliver God’s message. His message declared who God is and who he wants to be for us. As a prophet, he declared what would happen in the future. He is going to come back and take those who love him to be with him.

            Last, we looked at Jesus the Priest. We need a priest because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Jesus, in his role as a priest, brings us to God and God to us. He wants to walk through our hearts and bring the power of God to bear on the messes in our lives so that we can know his goodness and righteousness.

            Today, we are going to look at another role of Jesus. Jesus the King.

            We live in a world that wants the Kingdom of God with its justice and you, with its peace and love, with its goodness and hope – we want the kingdom of God – but we don’t want a king. We don’t want a ruler over us. We want to be our own boss.

            But heaven is what it is because the rule and reign of God is acknowledged and followed. The life we want is found when Jesus reigns supreme.

            That is why we have the Christmas story that was just read in Matthew 2. When Jesus came, he came as a king. Matthew’s depiction of the birth of Christ is one of the great stories of history. We have crèches depicting this story. We have movies like The Little Drummer Boy made around this story. We sing Christmas Carols retelling this story. It is a great and grand story.

            The whole point of the story sometimes gets lost. The Magi came searching for a king, and they found Jesus. Jesus was the king they sought. Jesus is a lot of things; he is a prophet, he is a priest, he is the Messiah. But when he is introduced by Matthew– he is introduced as a King.  

The Magi came asking the question.

Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

“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.”

Magi were philosophers, astronomers, and astrologers who often advised the king and the ruling class of government on issues of state. It is believed that these wise men came from Persia. They were sky watchers, and they had seen a new star and believed it meant that a king was born. Not just any king. Not all kings got their own star. There was something special about this king.

            When they came to Jerusalem, they approached Herod, the King of Israel, to ask where this new king was. After all, new kings are usually born to old kings. Kings, especially kings heralded by a star, would normally be born in a palace, or so one would think. So, they came in search of the king.

            But as you know, Jesus was not to be found in a palace. He was born in a stable. A stable is a far cry from a palace. I grew up on a farm. I spent a lot of my formative years cleaning up after animals. Stables are not rose gardens. They smell. They are not the Holiday Inn. They are damp and noisy and not exactly where you think that you would find a king.

            But this was no ordinary king. He was Christ the Lord. He is the one who said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” He came from heaven to earth and could have chosen anywhere to be born. And yet this king chose to be born in a stable. I have my suspicions as to why.

            One of the great Christmas Carols we sing at the beginning of the Advent season is “Come thou Long Expected Jesus.” One of the verses goes like this.

O holy Child of Bethlehem! Descend to us we pray,

Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel.

Cast out our sin and enter in; be born in us today.

            That is exactly what Christ wants to do. He wants to be born in us. The Bible says, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” But, as I noted last week, when we ask Christ into our hearts, many times, they smell no better than a stable. They are really messy and somewhat dark and gloomy. But that is OK. He was born in a stable before. He can handle the state of your heart. He can deal with your mess. This is no ordinary king.

            By the time the wisemen got to Jesus, he had been moved from a stable to a house. What we know is that the place where they found him was no palace; But it became a sanctuary. For there, in that humble abode, the Wisemen bowed and worshipped. Jesus has a way of taking our hearts and turning them into sanctuaries as well. What this story tells us is that this is no ordinary King.

            Just look at his biography – an unknown author penned the words to this poem called “One Solitary Life.

There once was a baby who was born to a poor family. His father was a carpenter and never made a lot of money. His mother stayed at home and raised her children.

Just before His birth, His parents had to move to a new town and start all over again. They knew no one there and didn’t even have a place to stay. He was born in a stable because his parents had nowhere else they could go.

Before He was two years old, his family had to flee the country because the government believed that He was a threat to national security.

After the old regime fell, His family was finally able to return to their home. Their home was in a small, out-of-the-way, obscure village. He lived there for about 25 years. In all His life, he never wrote a book, held a public office, or attended a college. He only helped his father in his work as a carpenter.

At the age of thirty, He decided it was time to begin His own work and He became an itinerant preacher. He travelled around the countryside on foot. He never travelled more than 200 miles from the place of His home. He preached and performed many miracles and had many, many followers.

His teachings had a lot of emphasis on love and forgiveness. He loved people for who they were, not for what they could do for Him, or how well they treated Him, or how wealthy they were, or how much they tried to find favour with Him. He knew and understood all the motivations of their hearts, and He still loved them and always told them the total truth about everything.

After three years as a preacher, public opinion turned against Him. His close friends deserted Him, leaving Him to suffer the mockery of a trial at the hands of His enemies. He was sentenced to death and was nailed to a cross between two thieves. 

As He was suffering and dying, His executioners gambled for His robe … the only possession He had on earth.

Twenty centuries have passed since His death, and today, He is still the central figure of the human race and the leader of the column of progress. Time is measured from His birth. 

All the armies that have ever marched, all the navies that have ever sailed, all the kings that have ever reigned and all of governments that have ever ruled have not influenced the life of man upon this earth nearly as much as that One Solitary Life.


            That is not the bio of an ordinary King. But Jesus was no ordinary man. The magi didn’t seek after just any ordinary prince. He was and is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

            He broke with the moulds of what kings are supposed to be. He wasn’t big on pomp and circumstance. He wasn’t induced by the trappings of his surroundings. He came with a blend of authority and humility.

            That same attitude of authority and humility permeates his stance towards you today. He comes to you with his trademark simplicity, and as you invite him into your heart, he goes about things in an understated way. Sometimes, when you take a look at what he is up to you, you wonder if he knows what he is doing.

            But let me tell you this about Jesus. He knows how to make an impact. He knows how to change the world. He changed the course of history. Because people followed him, medicine, the arts, academia, and technology grew. He changed the world, and he knows how to change your life.

            So, this morning, I wonder what it would mean for us to fully welcome this king into our lives. We sing the carol O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel. What does it mean for this king to come and live with us? Not just the foyers or the parlours of our lives but to enter into the deep recesses of our lives.


            As you can see you don’t have to get dressed up for this king. He can handle the humblest of circumstances. But that being said, he does demand homage. The scriptures spoke of him. The chief priests and teachers of the law studied him. The angels announced him. The magi brought expensive gifts and worshipped him.

            You don’t have to get dressed up for this king, but you dare not ignore him. For our calendars are marked by him. Our Western civilization has been formed by him. The angels of heaven worshipped him. You may become friends with this king, but you dare not ignore this king.

            The winds and the waves obey his voice. Evil flees at his coming. Demons cannot resist him. The grave could not hold him. Death cannot corrupt him. He takes you just as you are, but we dare not take him for granted.

            Jesus the king comes, not with the power of the armies of heaven, ready to decimate us if we step out of line, although he could come that way. Jesus the king does not come to us with the authority of his word that must be obeyed or face immediate consequences, although he could come that way. Jesus, the king doesn’t demand anything.

            But Jesus the king does ask for everything. He asks for our life. He asks for our obedience. He asks for our loyalty. He asks for our submission to his reign.

            He doesn’t come and overwhelm us with his power; he comes to us and overwhelms us with his love. He comes to us and offers us friendship. He comes to us and offers adoption into the family of God. This king, is not about the power of coercion; He is about the power of love. It is not about demanding submission; it is about us choosing to come under his authority. For Him, and therefore for us, it is all about relationship.

            He, right now, gives you the right to ignore his kingship. You can choose not to come under his reign. But in choosing that, you are choosing not to be in a relationship with him. And you should know – Friendship with the king matters.

            You know that in business, or when looking for a job, or in looking to get something done, it is often not what you know; it is who you know. It is the same thing with God. Being in relationship with his son matters. It opens the doors of the Kingdom of God for you.

            Relationship matters. He wants you to put yourself under his authority willingly. He wants you to walk with him – intimately. He wants you to love him – freely. He wants you to know him well.

            Where are you at – in your relationship with Christ. Relationship matters. He has all the authority of the kings of kings, but he comes to you as the king and also as a friend. Do you nurture that relationship, or do you take it for granted?

            I want to read again from God’s word about who Jesus is.

Philippians 2:5–11 (NIV)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing

by taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

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.

            There is coming a time when the authority of Jesus will be seen. Whether or not people recognize it now, there is a time when everyone will declare that Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They will bow in worship.

            There will be no choice in this. Jesus will come back again. He will come in the power fit his position. Not everyone will have a relationship with him, but everyone will have no choice but to honour him.

            But that is the future. This is now. Jesus comes to you as king, and he comes to you as a friend. This king is no stranger to messes. He was born in a stable. But this king is used to influence. Not the kind of influence that a king backed by an army has. He is the kind of king that knows the power of love.

            He asks you, “Will you give your life to me?” Will you allow me to be the authority in your life? If you will, you will find me to be a king who knows how to guide you into what is good, what is right, what is just, and what is pure. I will make your heart flourish.

            Will you give this king the right to rule over your time, your money, what you watch, what you read, what you do, where you go? Will you allow him to speak truth into the core of your heart and speak life into the core of your soul? Will you bow before him as king? Will you allow him to rule you?

            This is who he is. Will you invite him as he is to come fully into your life?