In the midst of the election craziness, it’s a blessing to know that God’s chosen King has come — Jesus. And he didn’t come just to make a political stand on certain hot-button issues of His day (although He certainly did speak and act bluntly and powerfully during His time on this earth, and it upset a lot of people), but He came to deal decisively with the deep-seated issue inside each one of our hearts that we would have preferred to pretend wasn’t there — our slavery to sin and evil, our bondage to the Enemy’s kingdom.
You see, Jesus didn’t like to hang out with the people who had their lives all put together — because most of those people were just putting on a show for others to see and applaud them, meanwhile their hearts were still full of all kinds of evil. No, Jesus liked to hang out with the prostitutes and the tax collectors, the people who had realized, “I can’t live the right way on my own!” — the kind of people who prayed, “Lord, have mercy on me! I’m a sinner.”
Jesus knew that we were incapable of living up to God’s standard of right-living. We were trapped in sin; our hearts had all been tainted. So Jesus was obedient to God, His Father, and died on behalf of your sins.
You see, our sins — our violation of God’s rule over us as King — had earned us a death-penalty. We had committed high treason — desiring to be kings of our own lives, doing things “my way,” instead of submitting to God’s Kingship.
But Jesus died the death you were meant to die. He died in your place, so you could be forgiven of your crimes — your sins against God. Then God raised Jesus up from death, defeating that nasty Enemy who had the power of death.
After all this, Jesus went back up to Heaven to sit at the right side of God, His Father. Then He sent His Holy Spirit to us, to give us the power we need to live this life. We were incapable of living up to God’s standards before — we were incapable of submitting to Jesus as our King — but now, when we come to Jesus humbly, trusting Him as our Rescuer from our sin, He gives us His power — His Spirit comes and makes us new inside. He cleans up our nasty old heart and makes us pure.
So if you find yourself in a similar boat to those tax collectors and prostitutes, feeling like, “I just can’t live right! I’m a hopeless failure!,” look to Jesus. You’ll find that He is the perfect King. He didn’t just set a bunch of rules in place and say, “Good luck!” No, He died and rose again and sent His Spirit in order to forgive you and cleanse you and give you everything you need to have a true transformation of your life on the inside — to write His laws on your heart, so that you /want/ to follow Him; so that you actually come to /love/ serving Him as your King.
And He doesn’t just welcome you into the Kingdom as /subjects/, but as brothers and sisters — siblings of the King, Jesus, and sons and daughters of God Most High. How incredible! So on that day when Jesus returns to this earth to set up a physical Kingdom, where right-living flourishes and evil is banished, we who have trusted Him as our Rescuer will reign /with Him/ on the earth, because if we are sons and daughters of God — the King — we are all royal heirs together! What a thought!
So in the meantime, while Jesus is in Heaven and we await the fullness of His Kingdom to be established, we pray,
“Our Father in Heaven, help everyone to treat You, and Your name, with reverent honor and respect.
May Your Kingdom come, and may Your will be done (help us to do what /You/ want!), on the earth just like it is in Heaven! Yes, may this earth be transformed, one heart at a time, to look more and more like how Your rule is so perfectly established in Heaven. Help us to be Your loyal subjects, and thank You for making us not only that, but also Your sons and daughters.
Give us the food we need to eat today, and forgive us for our sins; help us to forgive the people who sin against us.
Deliver us from the evil one and his nasty kingdom of darkness, because, after all, Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever!
Amen! Truly it is and truly it will be! Let it be so in each one of our hearts.”