The Coming King and The Coming Kingdom

We are always waiting for something these days. Something to be delivered, someone to arrive, or for a situation to improve. On winter days we look forward to warmer weather and the sunshine of the summer to come. In our collective life, we hope for progress and improvement in health services, economic outcomes, and environmental issues and look to politicians, scientists, and thinkers to lead us to these better places.

And yet our faith in our leaders’ capacity to know how to solve the problems of our nation and the globe seems to be at an all-time low. Continual international conflicts, an overstretched health service, and an unfolding global environmental crisis suggest to many that any optimism for better times ahead is surely misplaced, nevertheless, hope is something we find it hard to live without.

I don’t know what it is that you hope for at this time of year, and I don’t know what or who, you put your hope in. Most of us, I imagine, hope for an end to war, for the healing that we and our loved ones desperately need, for our needs for food, shelter, and safety to be met, and for the natural world around us to flourish. But alongside this too, sits our hopes for healed relationships, for welcome and acceptance, for the opportunity to contribute positively to our society, and to be seen, known and loved. A leader, a government, a society, that could deliver all this must be the answer we need.

For long periods in history, the Jewish people were waiting for someone to come and lead their nation into better days. Someone who would free them from oppression, and would give them a brighter future. They wanted a powerful leader, a king, who would solve all their political and social problems and they believed that God would send them one. This is the context for the Christmas story. A story that truth be told, makes little sense. It made little sense to the Jews who wanted a political solution to their problems, it makes even less sense to most of us 20 centuries later, who see no solution to our world’s issues in a baby and a manger.

Nevertheless, history tells us a different story. It tells us this baby was no ordinary child, that the life he lived and the legacy he left touched the lives of countless millions and changed the course of history. But yet, the Jesus we know from history was no political leader and he never lived in a palace nor ruled like a king.

In modern Britain our understanding of what it is to have a King is limited, shaped by the fact that for three hundred years our monarchs have handed over their power to rule to an elected government. Today, King Charles III is our King and head of state, and he lives in a palace. He reigns, but he does not rule and because of this he cannot be the solution to our nation’s problems. For a hope and a future we need someone who has the capacity, and the power to make a difference.

When he was killed, the charge made against Jesus, was that he claimed to be a king. When he was born the star that marked the place was interpreted as a sign of a royal birth. When he went about teaching and healing the crowds, his message was simple, God’s kingdom was near.

If I am waiting for anything, it is for the coming of this kingdom. It is what I pray for when I repeat the line of the Lord’s prayer, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done’. It is what I hope for when I despair at the mess our leaders are making of this nation and this world. In the kingdom where Jesus is King, God both reigns and rules, and people thrive. The people who know that they are not religious but who are open to believing that Jesus loves them, find blessing. The people who hurt, who grieve, who need healing, who turn to God, find that he has the power to heal and give them hope, and those who have messed up, and who turn around and seek His help, find open arms and forgiveness that releases them from their past.

The truth is that for nearly 20 centuries many in the world have been waiting for that baby to return. Not to a Manger in Bethlehem, but as the King who rules over all other kings. Not only as the one who has the power to set all history straight, to destroy evil, and to restore justice to this world. But also as the one who will wipe every tear from every eye, and who will bring healing, hope, and life. This Christmas season I am waiting for the returning King and the coming of his Kingdom of hope, grace, and peace.

Be blessed and encouraged.

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3 thoughts on “The Coming King and The Coming Kingdom

  1. Amen!

  2. Thank you for re-stating the Gospel so clearly and passionately. Incarnation and atonement are the fundamentals of Christian faith.

    1. Thank you. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!

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