Born to Be Our Sovereign
18 December 2016
A series of messages ending the year 2016
Grace Bible Church, Tulsa
Full Audio Message
Born to Be Our Sovereign
After Moses had led the people of Israel out of Egypt, he provided them with God’s law which included many guidelines that touched on a lot of different topics that would affect them as a nation. One of those was a prophecy that they would desire a human king to rule over them. So Moses laid out strict guidelines for their kings so that they would learn to fear the Lord. Only kings who feared the Lord would be able to rule justly and righteously.
So indeed, after Israel had entered the land of Canaan and had lived there a number of years, they demanded that Samuel the prophet appoint a human king over them. At first, Samuel was troubled by this because Yahweh was their king. But God said to Samuel that he should go ahead and appoint them a king because “they have rejected Me from being king over them” (1 Sam 8:7). What a sad day. But in His sovereign grace, God gave them the kind of king they want in order to show them what kind of king they need. Let’s trace a bit history as to how He accomplished this.
We know that Saul was crowned as the first king over Israel. But he manifested the weakness of human kings and was a huge disappointment. Then before Saul had died, the Lord told Samuel to anoint David to be the next king. Why David? The Lord told Samuel that He doesn’t look at the outward appearance as men do, but instead, “the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). David was a man after God’s heart (1 Sam 13:14; Acts 13:22).
David certainly wasn’t perfect but he truly loved and feared the Lord. After God had given David rest from his enemies, He sent Nathan the prophet to David. That day, God made a promise to David regarding his kingdom and regarding the king who would follow him (his son Solomon). But the Lord also made a promise that couldn’t refer to Solomon. There would have to be a king who was a descendent of David but must be much greater than any other king. Let’s look at 2 Sam 7:8-16. Yahweh made a covenant with David that there would be a descendant of his who would reign forever. Ethan the Ezrahite wrote a psalm that praised the Lord for the Davidic covenant. Turn now to Ps 89: 3-4; 34-35.
God revealed more about this Son of David who would be the eternal King. He gave a sign to help His people know Messiah when He comes. Turn to Isaiah 9:1-7. He would grow up in the region of Galilee. But Messiah would “be born to us…given to us”. God sent Him for our good. As King, “the government will rest on His shoulders”. And I’m sure you noticed those titles which belong only to God, right? Because He is God, “there will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace”. He will rule from David’s throne. Unlike all other kings, Messiah will rule with justice and righteousness.
Messiah was known by a number of different names in the OT. Turn to Isaiah 11:1-10 to see Him called “a shoot from the stem of Jesse…a branch…the root of Jesse” and notice Messiah the King’s character and the character of His kingdom. In vv. 11-16 the Lord promises to restore the remnant of His people through Messiah the King. Turn now to Isa 16:5 [read]. Turn to Isa 42:1-4. Messiah will rule with justice and tender care. Now look at Jer 33:14-16 as the Lord points to the day when Messiah the King will come.
Last week we talked about Jesus being the prophesied Savior and Champion (Isa 19:20). This connection between the two offices that Messiah would hold (Savior and King) is also spoken of in Zeph 3:17 which reads literally, “Yahweh your God is in your midst, a warrior who saves”. In order to save His people, whether from their enemies or from their sins, Jesus must have the sovereign power to defeat those enemies. He must be a mighty warrior and a champion. He must be the King of kings. As our Champion Savior, Jesus goes to war with our sins and defeats them.
In his first chapter, Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy to show that He is indeed the Son of David. While Messiah is David’s Son, He is also God’s Son which shows us that Messiah is God. Look at Ps 2:1-12. Now look at Ps 110:1-2. Jesus used this Psalm to stump the Jews who were opposed to Him and to show them that Messiah is greater even than David (Mt 22:41-46). Indeed, Messiah is God. God Himself says in His word to Messiah the King, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom” (Ps 45:6). And the writer to the Hebrews quotes this psalm to identify Messiah the King as none other than Jesus (Heb 1:8).
So what has happened is that Yahweh brought His people around so that they would follow Him alone as King. Messiah is Yahweh and He is King of kings. Messiah Yahweh (Lk 2:11) is the only King who will rule in perfect justice and righteousness and who will have His people’s best interests in mind. How does God change people’s hearts to follow Him? His Son died to save them from their sins and to give them life and the ability to recognize their true King!
Last week, we considered a reason for Jesus’ birth at the beginning of His life. This morning, we find ourselves at the end of His life, but once again considering a reason for His birth. Doesn’t it seem odd that He is talking with Pilate about being king, merely hours from His death? This shows how different He is as king. His kingdom is not of this realm. Dying is not the end but is a significant part of His reign. As the ultimate warrior who saves, Jesus must defeat our greatest enemy which is sin within our own hearts. He defeated sin and death by dying for us. Turn to Jn 18.
The religious leaders have condemned Jesus to die but they didn’t have authority to put someone to death because they were ruled by Rome. So they brought Jesus before Pilate who was Rome’s representative in the land of Palestine. Apparently, the religious leaders had reported that Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews. So when Pilate examined Jesus, he inquired further.
Jesus remained in control during His trials and He even became the interrogator. Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews and Jesus turned the question back to Pilate. He asked Pilate if this question came from his own desire to know or if this was the crime He was charged with. Pilate responded sarcastically that he wasn’t a Jew so he had no personal curiosity. Jesus then admitted that His kingdom is not of this realm. Otherwise His followers would be fighting for Him. [John 18:37].
At this admission, Pilate responded, “So You are a king?” Jesus affirmed it. Then He went on to explain why He came into the world. Jesus said that He was born into this world for this purpose: to be King. Last week we considered one of the purposes for Jesus’ birth. He was born into this world to be our Savior. Now we look at another purpose: Jesus was born to be our Sovereign.
Jesus was a different sort of king though. He admitted that He was born like other kings but unlike every other king He came into the world, that is, from another realm (Jn 1:1-2; 14). Only Jesus existed prior to being conceived. Existing prior to being conceived in Mary’s womb, Jesus had a purpose in mind before coming into the world. That purpose was to be King.
Another way in which Jesus was different as king was that He came to bear witness to the truth By truth, Jesus doesn’t mean an abstract idea. Jesus means truth as in theology, doctrine. Jesus came to reveal truth about God and the truth of the Gospel. He is different because He Himself is truth (Jn 14:6). Remember that we read in Isa 9:2 that when Messiah came, God’s people would “see a great light”. Jesus was that light and He brought the light of truth (Jn 1:9; Jn 8:12 “light of the world”).
Another way He is different is that His followers are also characterized by this truth and they can recognize it. Jesus pointed out that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice. Jesus taught earlier in His ministry that He is the Good Shepherd and that His sheep recognize His voice (Jn 10:3-5). They recognize that He is the truth and that He speaks the truth.
And so we have learned this about Jesus our Sovereign:
- In the person of Jesus, Yahweh gave to us a King. He has our best interests in mind. He will prepare us to spend an eternity with our great God.
- In the person of Jesus, we find that Messiah the King is unique. He restores, He redeems, He rules in righteousness and brings about perfect justice for His people. He reigns in truth because He Himself is the truth.
- In the person of Jesus, Yahweh has returned His people to Himself as their only King.
As we come now to the Lord’s Supper, consider how it was that Jesus the warrior King saved us. He did so by dying in our place. That sets Him apart from every other king, including David. Jesus died to save His people from their sins so they could reign with Him forever!