When you think of a king, who is the first person to pop into your head? It may depend on how much history you know, or which historical period intrigues you the most. As Americans, the first person we might think of is King George III, whose reign has become synonymous in our national lore with the concept of tyranny.
We don’t have much familiarity with kingship in modern American society. Kings tend to make us uneasy. Presidents, on the other hand — we can handle those, because we know we are a president’s boss. No matter how much power he has, we are the electorate. We are the source of that power. We’re comfortable with this arrangement.
But with kings it is profoundly different. Traditionally, the king derives his power from God. His rule bridges humanity with the divine.
We should reflect carefully on whether or not we have made Jesus Christ king in our hearts, or whether we regard him as a president. The difference isn’t just one of titles, it’s one of roles. Subjects do not demand anything of a king. They beseech. They entreat. They submit, and they accept.
Do we demand of Christ, or do we beseech? Do we tolerate God’s edicts with grumbling, or do we embrace His word as the means of our reconciliation with Him?
The “good thief” treated Christ as a king. His counterpart treated him as a president. And it’s worth remembering that Jesus Christ is not the President of the Universe.
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS