Who is the King - featured image
Book Club,  Soul

Who is the king?

Jesus Christ, the gift of light came to earth at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way. Christmas teaches us the importance of Jesus’ coming to earth as a baby and what that means for us as lost sinners. As we read Chapter 4 of Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller, we come to the question of who is the king of our lives – the baby Jesus or the god of self.

When the Magi came looking for Jesus and asked king Herod where the king was, this egotistical dictator was furious. He was the king and there would be no other. His response was to kill all children under the age of 2 years, to ensure no one will usurp him on the throne. This was the first of many instances where Jesus was challenged as King.

Most of us don’t live under a monarchy today, but in each of our hearts, there is a king that rules the decisions and actions we make every day. Every human heart is evil by default and thus ruled by the god of self. Every fantasy or fairytale novel will tell you there can never be two kings on the throne. If Jesus Christ is not the absolute authority of our lives then the ruler is self-centredness and self-righteousness. The king is either you or Jesus, not both. There is no compromise.

In every heart, then, there is a little “King Herod” that wants to rule and that is threatened by anything that may compromise its omnipotence and sovereignty. Each of us wants to be the captain of our own soul, the master of our own fate.

Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas
Little King Herod - Tim Keller quote

I don’t know about you, but for me to be compared to King Herod is shocking and devastating. But even Apostle Paul agrees that “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” (Romans 3:10-11)

Tomans 3 verse 10 and 11

But how can it be? I work so hard for the Lord? I obey the commandments? I attend church every chance I get? Ask yourself: why do I do these things? Is it to get the gifts you believe the Father will “reward” you with? Do you seek the blessing of health/wealth or even salvation? Or do you seek the Father? The true litmus test is if you can surrender your whole life to God and trust him to be in control of your heart, soul and mind. Like Herod, our resistance to God’s claim on our lives makes us enemies of God. We want to work for our salvation because then we put God in our debt instead of us being in his debt for all he has done for us.

“If the Son of God was really born in a manger, then we have lost the right to be in charge of our lives.”

Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas
Son of God born in a manger - Tim Keller quote

Getting out of denial

It is not possible to be neutral about Christmas. If Jesus did come to earth to die for our sins then we have lost the right to control our lives. Tim Keller also reminds us that, even after we are justified by faith, our “default mode” is hostility towards God. Overcoming this resistance to his rule on our lives is a life-long process that will only reach completion when we are glorified at Christ’s return.

“You can’t just glide through the Christian life. There is still something in you that fights it.”

Tim Keller, Hidden Christmas

I feel this struggle every day, what about you?

The Weakness of Christ’s Kingdom

Christ’s kingdom turns the values of this world upside down. Jesus was born in Nazareth – the lowest of low towns in his time. God chose the weak, small tribe of Israel and killed Goliath with the sling of a shepherd boy. He chooses to talk with Elijah through a whisper and chooses four barren women to mother the fathers of his people. He doesn’t do it our way. God chooses the nobodies and the forgotten to fulfil his plans. No other religion glorifies the weak and sinful, instead, all other belief systems propagate summoning up strength for a good life.

Jesus comes down to earth, to the lost and sinful, and does for us what we can never do for ourselves. He loses all his divine power to die for us and save us from eternal death. He ascends a cross and not a throne. He was ridiculed and teased, not honoured and adored. All of this so we can be reconciled with the Father.

This truth brings us a comfort and a challenge. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done.

“I don’t care how badly you’ve messed up. If you repent and come to God through Jesus, not only will God accept and work in your life, but he delights to work through people like you. He’s been doing it through all of world history. “

Tm Keller, Hidden Christmas
Repent and come to God - Tim Keller quote

Christmas means that race, pedigree, wealth and success doesn’t matter.

Jesus Christ turns the world’s idea of success upside down.

How liberating!

Enjoy listening to this Advent sermon by Timothy Keller – Jesus, Our God

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the books studied by Nettie’s Book Club. I am not profiting from the sale of these books. I will carefully select books that have had a significant impact on my faith. My goal is simply to share the wisdom in these books with others so we can assess and apply the wisdom of these authors to grow in understanding of our faith together.

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