By Henry Rouse
Born a Child, and Yet a King Day 29
Not long ago, the world paused at the news that Queen Elizabeth II had died. It was an incredibly significant moment for the nation of England and the many countries of the Commonwealth. What surprised me was that in a quiet, understated way, in the middle of the grief and mourning, a new monarch was crowned. It wasn’t the time for a large coronation or a royal parade, but seemingly overnight, there was a new king.
Since the time of David and Solomon, Israel had been waiting and praying for a king. The prophets of old spoke of a time when a new king would come and the kingdom would be established. Isaiah speaks of the Lord’s house being established in the last days, above the hills, on top of the mountains. The description is of a kingdom that sits above all others in greatness, a kingdom of fruitfulness and peace (Isaiah 2:2–4).
When Jesus was born, the king over Judea was Herod, appointed by Rome and wary of anyone else who had a claim to the throne. When he was told that the wise men from the east sought the one “who has been born king of the Jews,” he was very interested. Being told by the priests and scribes that the Messiah (anointed one) would be born in Bethlehem, Herod sent the wise men there to investigate for him. Finding the child, they worshiped Him and presented Him with gifts fit for a king, and then being warned by an angel, they left without telling Herod who they had found (Matthew 2:1–12).
Enraged, Herod commanded the execution of all infants that could possibly have been the promised heir to the throne. And the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled, a time of “weeping and great mourning” (Matthew 2:13–18). Despite Herod’s efforts, the child-king Jesus escaped—“there is hope for your future” (Jeremiah 31:15–17)! Just a child, yet born to be King.
But Jesus is not simply heir to an earthly throne. He is not just potentially a future king. The writer of Hebrews identifies Jesus as God’s Son (Hebrews 1:1–3)—the heir of all things, Creator of the universe, the radiance of God’s glory, the exact expression of God’s nature and the One who sustains all things. He is the King who sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high, worthy of all worship and praise.
On this day, Christmas Day, we focus on an infant boy, born in a manger in a stable, born in poverty and humility. But don’t leave Him in that manger, for Christmas is not just the birth of a child, it is the birth of hope, the birth of our King!