The Big King and the Little King
I ran across a page in my files by R.C. Sproul, entitled "The Big King and the Little King." Allow me to write part of it out and then make a few comments.
"Once upon a time, in the tiny land of Palestine, two kings were alive at the same time & at the same place. One of the kings was seventy years old; the other king was an infant. The big king was evil; the little king pure. The big king was rich and powerful; the little king was stricken by poverty. The big king lived in an opulent palace; the little king lived in a stable. The little king's mother was a peasant girl; His adoptive father was a carpenter.
The big king's name was Herod. He was called 'The Great.' He was a 'puppet king.' That is, in this period of Jewish history, Palestine was ruled by the emperor of Rome. Rome had conquered Palestine in war & the emperor had placed a local fellow in Galilee to be his deputy there. Herod became governor of Galilee in 40 BC, & in the same year the Roman Senate declared him 'King of Judea.'
One day Herod received some unusual visitors. They were men from the East. Tradition calls them three kings, but they were really magi or astronomers, possibly from Persia. The magi came to Herod because they were following a star that led them to Palestine. They inquired of Herod, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.'
Herod was greatly troubled by the question. He didn't like the idea of another king in his realm, especially a true king who was anointed by God. He tried to fool the wise men. He met with them secretly and asked them how to find this newborn king. He lied to the magi. He pretended to want to find the baby king so he could worship Him. What he really wanted was to kill the little king.
The magi left King Herod and followed the star to Bethlehem where they found the baby king. They fell down and worshiped Him. They presented gifts to Him. When Herod realize that the magi fooled him he became enraged. He commanded all the male babies two years old and under, who live in and around Bethlehem, to be killed.
But God warned the baby king's father who fled with his wife and baby to Egypt. In a short-time King Herod died and the new king and His parents came back to Palestine.
The BIG king died and now is remembered as a LITTLE king. The little king grew up and became JESUS the Greatest…. KING of all KINGS and LORD of LORDS.
This simple story tells us of a king who MISSED the real king. Christmas marks the birth of the true King. His name is Jesus Christ. Our calendar is yet, another tangible evidence of his birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection.
The King Who Missed the Real King
A few OBSERVATIONS: #1 The little king of IDOLS that society portrays today as if they’re big kings. We see them in social media, movies, athletics, music and politics. Those who seemingly have “power”, beauty, intellect and money. Each of these little kings have limited power and their temporary power soon fades in the popularity polls and in history. Without Christ, each of them will one day bow (like Herod) to the true King – Jesus Christ.
#2The little king of SELF that is exalted as the big king. We live in a post-modern, moral relativism that exalts self in almost every area of life. For example, truth, that has always been with us, but is often ignored due to the self-exaltation. We’re told there’s no such thing as absolute truth. All truth is subjective to a myriad of opinions originating from self. A baby in the womb is scientifically and medically a baby, but due to self’s opinions, it’s not a baby, unless it fits into self’s agenda. Our society filters everything (religion, education, history, family, etc.) through the lens of self. Sadly, the little king of self can’t experience the peace and joy that only the big king …The Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords … can bring. Christmas reminds us of the Big King in Heaven who chose to put on a skin suit (incarnate) and become human (little king) to identify with all of humanity. He was Immanuel – God with us.
#3 The little king of SELF continues to reveal itself even in us as FOLLOWERS of Christ. We find SELF throughout scripture described in different ways: old self vs, new self (before Christ and after receiving Christ), old man vs new man; selfish or sinful nature, self-deception, self-exaltation, self-indulgence, etc. How about self-righteousness which plagues every believer until they put their faith in the finished work of Christ at the Cross. Paul talks about self-control. Jesus talks about self-denial in order to find “real” life. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must DENY HIMSELF and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but WHOVEVER LOSES his LIFE (self) for ME will FIND IT.” (Matthew 16:24 -25) When we make HIM, the Big King – Lord or our life, we discover the purpose HE has for us. Like you, I’m challenged in keeping the Big King, the Big King in my daily walk. Yet, the Holy Spirit helps us daily as we YIELD to Him. “Do not offer (yield KJV) the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer (yield) yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13). John the Baptist said it this way, “HE must increase, I must decrease.”
Too often we, as believers, want to compartmentalize our relationship with the Lord. I read a statement a few weeks ago … God is NOT a KING, but a HOBBY in our lives. Ouch! Some treat Jesus like a hobby. Something we do in our discretionary time. Our post-modern, relativistic culture tells us to keep Jesus the little king….and we’ll be accepted. If we make Him the Big King, we often make others uncomfortable and find rejection in a society that preaches tolerance, but will not tolerate others who keep Jesus as the Big King in their lives. As believers, the challenge we all face is keeping HIM the King and Lord of our lives. When we do, we rediscover the peace and joy and the real meaning of Christmas.
If You Want To Get Along With God (King), Stay Off His Throne
Making HIM the Big King in our life helps us to make the hard decisions that we all face on our journey with Him. As one person stated, “If you want to get along with God (King), stay off His throne.” I remember the story from a book by Mark Batterson of a young man named Matt (new believer) who began attending church with his girlfriend. Matt listened to some messages about being all in with Christ. Matt wanted ALL the BENEFITS, without making any of the COMMITMENTS. When he made the decision to accept Christ as savior and Lord, he was living with his girlfriend. Shortly thereafter, they separated and he moved out. He set up some Biblical boundaries for sexual purity. It was tough and it was awkward, but it began to bear fruit in his life. They continued dating, but in purity. He and his girlfriend continued growing in their commitment to Christ. Many months later he asked her to marry him. Before asking her, he went to her father to ask for her hand. When he asked her father, the response was, “all I’ve ever wanted for my children is they would marry someone who loves Jesus first and foremost.” Then the father put Matt on the spot …”Matt, can you tell me that you love Jesus more than you love Jessica?” Matt paused for a moment and said, “for the first time in my life, I can say yes.”
This Christmas our prayer is that you have discovered the true King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His name is Jesus. Please don't fall for all the little kings in our society today who compete for your time and dreams, and please don't think YOU’RE a king. They're all vain. No matter what you temporarily discover in each of them, you'll awaken to the disappointment of their hollowness and emptiness. Almost like cotton candy, it looks so big, yet there's no substance.
The GOOD News of Christmas is that Jesus loves us exactly as we are, but He loves us too much to leave us as we are. When we make HIM King and Lord of our life, we will find a fulfillment beyond anything this world can offer. Jesus has a plan for our life, because He has deposited unique GIFTS in each of our lives. Why don't we take the gifts He has given us and use them for His Glory! That is true fulfillment. May we worship Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords this Christmas Season. He is worthy!
The GOOD News of Christmas Is Jesus Loves Us Exactly as We Are, But He Loves Us Too Much to Leave Us as We Are.