Self-control is in high regard these days. The regard, however, is for a kind of self-control that pushes against outside feedback. It says, I know myself best. So only I can control how I live. But this is not how the Bible talks about self-control in the slightest. The Bible...
The queue wrapped around the palace. Young and old, people stood all day for news of the royal baby. Prince William and his bride, Kate, had just given birth to the next heir to the British throne, and the throngs were breathless as they waited to welcome the new prince to London.
I was in London that week and saw the crowds fight for a chance to photograph the announcement. Not the baby, mind you, just the announcement. A slip of paper in a gold frame announcing his arrival. At the airport en route to the UK, I heard stories of people who flew to London in anticipation of the birth. Thousands of dollars in airplane tickets and hotel rooms just to catch a glimpse of the child who may be king one day.
The whole world eagerly welcomed young Prince George, the third in line to the throne. This little boy will grow up with every form of privilege. He’ll be surrounded by royalty, celebrities, and servants. His training will be Oxford or Cambridge. He’ll never lack for attention, and his every need will be met — needs that he won’t even know exist.
How different from another royal baby born over two thousand years ago. This other baby came into the world, and no one welcomed him. Only his mother and father. The baby announcement didn’t draw throngs of eager visitors. Instead, his announcement was heralded by angels to a few common shepherds. Jesus was the King of kings dressed in human flesh, but many refused to see it.
He had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:2b-3)
No palace. No queues of eager onlookers. This royal baby would grow up apprenticing to a carpenter, a lowly tradesman. He would befriend fishermen and tax collectors. Though society seeks a celebrity prince, in Christ we have access to the Prince of Peace. Jesus is different from any human king.
Unlike earthly kings, Jesus is accessible
The visitors to Buckingham Palace that summer had to remain outside the gate. No one was granted access to the baby. Christ, however, invites us to approach the throne of grace with boldness:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Unlike earthly kings, Jesus is truly powerful
Throughout history, kingdoms have conquered and have been conquered by others. Earthly power is fleeting, but true power is found in no one other than Christ. His power was demonstrated when God raised him from the dead, and the same power is at work in us.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Unlike earthly kings, Jesus’ throne lasts forever
Earthly power is limited and can’t last forever. One leader may have authority in one country but not in another. And as one king gets older, a new prince is born to replace him. Not so with Christ.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. (Psalm 145:13)
Jesus is not like any other king. He is accessible, and he invites us to approach the throne of grace with boldness. His power is like no other, and his throne will last forever.
He came to earth in the form of a baby. A royal baby that no one noticed and few welcomed. His coming was foretold years earlier by the prophet Isaiah when he wrote the original baby announcement:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:2)
A royal baby born in London the summer of 2013 captured the world’s attention. But the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, born more than 2000 years earlier is ignored by many.