Obscurity Fit for a King

“For in subjecting all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him.  But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him” (Heb 2.8).

All the world sat agape as the future King of England entered the world last week.  Given the ubiquitous news coverage, I am surprised there wasn’t an Obstetricam to stream every second of the delivery live on the internet!  Who wouldn’t want the naming rights to that invention?

Much has changed since the last king was born.  Unlike every king before him, Prince George was born into a world of satellites and smartphones.  While King George V once said, “I cannot understand it, after all I am only a very ordinary sort of fellow,”  there will be nothing ordinary about King George VII (or VIII depending on Charles’s regal name).  His whole life will be on display.  And I am glad my parenting skills (such as they are) are not always one photog away from global fodder!

While the whole world has been heretofore interested in the royal family, the world has never had access to it like it does now. Everyone, everywhere knows a king has been born.  Long live the king.

This only helps us to marvel at the obscurity in which the King of the Universe was born.  Could we imagine the King of England being born in a back alley with no one there to report it (Lk 2.7)?  Could we imagine the first folks to know would be some blue-collar workers coming off the graveyard shift (Lk 2.8-9)? Is the royal announcement befitting some tabloid astrologers (Mt 2.2)?  Not even the sitting king had heard the news (Mt 2.3)!

Such is Jesus: the humble King who was born in obscurity and rides a lowly donkey (Jn 12.15).  The future King of England was born in posh surroundings to be raised as the finest for the finest. He was made for the monarchy.

Not Jesus.  He wasn’t born in a palace to rule the elite.  He was born in a stable to befriend the humble: shepherds, fishermen, prostitutes and shysters.

Jesus would not be numbered among the kings, but with the transgressors (Is 53.12). He would not assume his place at the table of kings.  He reclined at the table of sinners as if they were royalty (Mt 9.10).  He didn’t grow up untouchable in a palace, but as one of us: a simple son of a workaday carpenter (Lk 4.22).  He doesn’t call those he rules “subjects,” but brothers.

Jesus came to establish his rule over a kingdom of another order.  It’s not one the world cares about or pays much attention to.  His visible kingdom, the church, does not bespeak royalty.  And therein lies the beauty of the gospel.  Our King is for the lowly who love nothing more than being called his brothers.

King George VII will one stand before the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey.  He will wear a variety of the finest robes, gowns, crowns.  And he will swear to

“maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel . . .  maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law . . . maintain and preserve inviolable the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England . . . and preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them.”

Of course, history and Truth tells us even the King of England can’t guarantee those promises.  When was the last time the UK retained “the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel”?

Jesus chose to hang naked on a Roman cross.  He chose to be treated by his countrymen as a low-life Palestinian thug.  He chose to be treated by his Father as the epitome of all that profanes God.  His path to the throne wasn’t through a parade of roses and blown kisses.  His path was a parade of pain, disgusting spit and humiliating slaps.

And Jesus doesn’t make promises he won’t or can’t keep.  He earned all authority, not because of his last name or parentage, but because of his indestructibly holy life (Heb 7.16).  He was coronated at the cross and crowned in his resurrection (Heb 1.5-13).  He will indeed maintain his kingdom in the Gospel.  He will preserve the church’s doctrine, worship, discipline and government as established in Zion.  He will preserve his royal priesthood so that his kingdom is brought safely and entirely home (1 Pt 2.9). And we will never have to wait anxiously for the birth of another king again.

It’s true for now: we do not yet see all things subjected to him (Heb 2.8).  But The King as been born.  Long live The King.

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