Kingship is a constant theme running throughout the Scriptures. The Triune God created humanity in his image to enjoy his own rule over everything he has made (Gen. 1:26-28). This rule is meant to be characterized by rest, peace, and glory as humanity is in right relationship with God (Gen. 2:1-3). We abdicated, traded, and fell short of this glory when we willingly became subservient to the serpent (Gen. 3), a creature explicitly meant to be under our dominion. In reaching for authority for ourselves, in seeking power autonomously from God, we lost true power and authority. The Scriptures are the record of God’s work to reestablish true human Kingship, especially over all the power of the serpent-enemy (Gen. 3:15). Kings are at the center of the history of God’s relating to his people (think “1 & 2 Kings”). To his shepherd-king, David, God promised a great name, rest from all his enemies, and an offspring whose throne and kingdom he would establish forever (2 Sam. 7). This greater son of David would be David’s Lord (Ps. 110; Lk. 20:41-44), the divine-human King of Glory (Ps. 24), Ruler over everything God has made (Ps. 8; Heb. 2:5-9).
Jesus is this true and everlasting King, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16) who was taken up in glory (1 Tim. 3:16). Jesus is King now, and this is an apex feature of the Gospel preached by the Apostles throughout the Book of Acts. Upon his Ascension he was seated (his “Session”) at the right hand of Power (Lk. 22:69), at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). God sits upon his throne, and at his right hand—the place of rest and prominence and power at the helm of all reality (Col. 3:1)—is the Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus. God has made him Lord and Christ (Acts 2:34-36), exalted him as Leader and Savior (Acts 5:30-31), raising him far above all rule, authority, power, and dominion (Eph. 1:20-22), subjecting all his enemies under his feet (Heb. 10:13; 1 Pet. 3:22). All authority in heaven and on earth have been given to him (Mt. 28:18). In fact, God has even granted this Man to baptize with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33), effectively wielding God’s own power and glory.
Jesus was granted this universal, eternal Kingship precisely because he never reached for autonomous power, for self-rule, but has always been in perfect submission to his Father (John 5:19, 30), even to the point of his terrible death (Phil. 2:8-11). He does not exercise power for his own sake, but demonstrates the true power of love as he laid down his life for his friends (Jn. 10:17-18; 15:13). It is this very same Jesus who lived and died for others (Heb. 13:8) who now rules over all things for the sake of others. His Session at God’s right hand is not for his own sake, but as our Representative, our Vicar, so that he might bring “many sons to glory” (Heb. 2:10). His Session means the continuation of his Priesthood (Ps. 110; Heb. 4:14; 5:5; 6:20; 8:1), as he appears in the presence of God on our behalf (Heb. 9:24) to make intercession for us always (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). In his own Person, in our place, he has restored humanity to its inheritance, its intended place at God’s right hand, and because of his grace we will one day reign with him forever (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 22:5).
Have you sought to usurp God’s rule in your life? What has that looked like? How has that worked out for you, honestly? Do you believe that God has always sought to share his rule with you? Do you usually think of the Gospel only in terms of past events, or also with Christ’s present Session in mind? Why do Christians seem to be prone to relegate the Gospel to the past? What are some aspects of Christ’s Session that are important to you? Why do people often get angry at this Good News (Mt. 26:63-68; Acts 7:54-58)?