**This is the first post in the Joy to the World series with each post highlighting a verse of the well-known Christmas carol. You can read the intro to the series here.**
Eric Mataxes wrote a book called 7 Men, which highlights 7 extraordinary men. One of the chapters was on George Washington. There are many extraordinary stories about the courageous acts of Washington, but Metaxes argues that the most courageous and noble accomplishment of Washington was actually something he didn’t do.
Once America won their freedom they suddenly realized they had to govern a country some how, so they turned their attention to drafting a constitution and thinking through leadership structures. At this time many Americans wanted to make Washington King. Washington refused, having just fought a war to be free from a British Monarchy. But this offer had to be tempting. It would have given Washington unlimited rule, power and wealth for him and all his family after him. It might be similar to being offered what is considered a large contract today in professional sports. Imagine being offered a contract for $300 million. You would probably think to yourself, “how could I turn this down?”
But Washington knew from personal experience that no one could be trusted to have absolute rule over a people. No one could be entrusted with ultimate power.
In America we aren’t used to the concept of a king. We have presidents who we have a hand in electing. They have great power and influence and therefore great responsibility, which is why we should pray for our president often. Yet, their power is limited. For the most part they can’t enact whatever they want without it being passed by a majority of the Senate and House of Representatives. In short we have a sizable amount of control over who leads us and how they lead us, and our constitution was designed that way.
A Kingdom doesn’t work that way. You don’t choose a king. A true king has ultimate power. Whatever the king says goes for better or for worse, and the only term limit is death.
In the first chapter of Luke we read about an angel who appears to Mary to tell her she will have a son. This angel gives Mary her first sonogram. Except, unlike most sonograms where you learn the size and gender of your baby (and that all babies in the womb look like aliens), Mary learns who her baby will be, and what he will accomplish.
The angel tells Mary in Luke 1:33:
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Mary’s baby will be named Jesus and he will be called wonderful counselor, mighty god, everlasting father, prince of peace. And he will rule as a king. Of his government and power and rule and peace there will be no end. They will increase forever. He will rule justly, with righteousness, kindness and love. And he will rule forever. There is no term limit to his reign or other legislative branches. He doesn’t need checks and balances to hold him accountable, because he holds the universe in his hand.
So let us receive this King. Let us accept his rule. Let us adore him as the shepherds and wise men did when they saw his star and heard the angels worshiping. The night Christ was born many did not have room for him. He deserved to be laid in golden cribs in the most glorious of palaces, but was placed in a feeding trough for animals.
How appropriate that Christ was born in a dirty stable, since our hearts, full of sin and unworthiness, is where Christ now seeks to dwell.
The question is will we prepare him room? As Charles Spurgeon said, “Here is my Royal Master–have you room for him? Here is the Son of God made flesh–have you room for him? Here is he who can forgive all sin–have you room for him?” (Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, Guthrie. pg61.)
Politics are heated right now. Regardless of what followers of Christ believe politically we can all be thankful that Donald Trump is not our king. Or Obama or George Bush or George Washington. There’s only one worthy to be king and ruler of all. It’s Christ and he’s not running for re-election.
Below are the rest of the posts in this series:
Part 1: Let Earth Receive Her King
Part 4: Proving His Wonders