2012 - Vol. 64
Rooted in the Word
A Portrait of Kingship
by Jeanne Kun
Under the old covenant, God commissioned anointed kings to rule over
Israel and Judah. David—whose dynasty God promised to establish forever—was
Israel’s greatest king, the model and prototype for all future kings. Under
the new covenant, God commissioned the Lord Jesus, his own Son as well
as a descendant of David, as his anointed king. “The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God is at hand,” Jesus announced as he took up the mission
entrusted to him by the Father (Mark 1:15).
We commonly understand a kingdom to be a territory or country ruled
by a king. However, when Jesus spoke of the “kingdom of God,” he was not
referring to a piece of land, but to the rule of God. Thus, the “kingdom”
that Jesus proclaimed in the gospels is better understood as the reign
or the kingship and authority exercised by God over his people.
Jesus’ ministry and deeds reflect the way in which he would rule as
king. His teachings help us understand the nature of his kingdom: “Whoever
does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Mark
10:15); “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
(Matthew 5:3). Jesus also unfolded the truths and mysteries of the kingdom
through his parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman
took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened” (Matthew
13:33); “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field” (13:44).
At the end of the ages, Jesus will come again to establish the full
reign of God over the human race—and then we will hear “loud voices in
heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our
Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever’” (Revelation
Read and prayerfully reflect on these additional Scripture passages
to enhance your understanding of Jesus’ kingship and of the kingdom of
column on right >
My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
You are the fairest of the sons of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you for ever.
Gird your sword upon your thigh,
O mighty one,
in your glory and majesty!
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
for the cause of truth and to defend the
let your right hand teach you dread deeds!
Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king’s enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
Your divine throne endures for ever and ever.
Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above your fellows
These twelve Jesus sent out,
charging them, . . . “Preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven
is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.”
(Matthew 10:5, 7-8)
[Jesus said:] “When the Son
of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit
on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and
he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep
from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the
goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come,
O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation
of the world.’”
[Jesus said:] “With what
can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is
the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up
and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
I [John] heard every creature
in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein,
saying, “To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and
honor and glory and might for ever and ever!”