Portrait of the King

“Behold your King!” —John 19:14

THE kings have had their day, it is said, but there is a King whose day is shortly to begin. As his “day” draws near the whole world is in a very sorry state of affairs, and there are many philosophers who are urging us to believe that there is no way out of the chaos that is everywhere apparent. Most of the world has concluded that government by kings is a failure. But now that most of the kings are gone, the people are no better satisfied with the governments which have succeeded them, while the world lies torn and bleeding as a result of a cruel struggle which continues between opposing ideologies. Is such a world willing to try another king?

We grant that the kings of the past have failed, and freely acknowledge that the governments which have taken their places are quite unsatisfactory, for the hearts of the people are filled with fear as they consider the possibilities of what may yet befall them. But it is just such conditions as these which call for a new ruler.

Frequently one hears the opinion voiced that the only thing which now will save the world from utter ruin, and the race itself from destruction, is a high-principled superman, an unselfish one who would be wise enough to map out a new and better course for the people, order his plans put into effect, and have power to enforce his edicts. Convince the world that such a ruler is on hand and he would probably be universally acclaimed!

But that is a large order, for such a king would of necessity have to break with tradition all along the line. He would have to be a king capable of establishing his authority without the necessity of leading millions of the world’s youth into battle. And he would not be different from the kings and rulers who have failed if he attempted to enforce his decrees under threat of destruction by hydrogen bombs. He would need to be a king who would take as much interest in the poor as in the rich, and who would respect the rights of all races and colors equally.

A king qualified to take over in this chaotic world of today could not be an advocate of super races. He would have to be a promoter of the interests of just one race—the human race. Because all people are members of this one race, he would need to be just as interested in the Hottentot of the jungles as in America’s elite “four hundred.”

And he would have to be a very wise king, else those who hold vested interests of one sort or another would trick him into believing that their claims were just, and that the human race could not get along at all if their own selfish interests were not considered. He would have to possess the qualities which one of the prophets of the Bible ascribes to a foretold king whom God would cause to rule over the nations. Of this One we read:

“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge by the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall he the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”—Isa. 11:2-5

Not a single one of all the kings who have lived to this time—the kings who have had their day—ever possessed all these qualities. On the other hand, no king, no ruler, no government, which possesses less in the way of knowledge, wisdom, justice, and power could hope to assume the rulership of the world today and bring peace and satisfaction to all the people. A king thus qualified to be a world ruler would fulfill still another prophetic picture, this one given to us by King David:

“Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. … In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”—Ps. 72:1-8

Nearly two thousand years ago a man journeyed up and down in the land of Judea whom his followers believed was destined to be the world ruler which the prophecies had foretold. He didn’t have an army. He never tried to exalt himself at the expense of others. He was noted for his kindness. He loved all, and was sympathetic even toward the erring. One of the most revealing observations made concerning him states that he “went about doing good.”

But the world was too evil to appreciate so noble a character. He was hated by the rulers of his day, and charges were brought against him aimed at his life. One of the charges was that he claimed to be a king. He was brought before a Roman governor for trial, and was asked, “Art thou a king?” to which he replied, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world.” (John 18:37) In stating this, he knew that he was in effect sentencing himself to death, because such a claim would be considered treason against Caesar.

This kindly, sympathetic, understanding, and self-sacrificing servant of the people was a Jew, and when the governor realized he could do nothing more to save his life, he permitted his soldiers to place a crown of thorns upon the prisoner’s head, and showing him to the people, he cried, “Behold your King!” But they shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him.”—John 19:15

While this future King of earth voluntarily surrendered himself to his enemies, his manner of life and death none the less changed the course of the world. While this King was crucified by his people, the religion which bore his name was later made the official state religion of all Europe—contrary to his teachings. In his name some of the bloodiest wars of history were fought, but he himself was a peacemaker who taught his followers to love their enemies, and to do good to those who despitefully used them. He taught that those who wield the sword would perish by the sword.—Matt. 26:52

And so it has been. The kings who now have had their day built up their kingdoms and tried to maintain them by the power of the sword; but they have all perished, and even the global use of swords has failed to solve the world’s problems. Despite this, one of the principal things now being done to bring peace and good will on earth is the preparation for further war.

That is why the world needs a new king, one who will discard the principles and methods which have always failed and which will continue to fail; one whose ideology is that of good will among all and for all; one who is backed up by power other than that of the sword, even the power of the Creator himself; one who manifested such genuine and loving interest in his subjects that he gladly died for them, dying even the cruel death of the cross. Such a One is to be the world’s new King. He is Jesus of Nazareth.

They crucified Jesus, but he told his disciples that he would come again, and taught them to pray for the kingdom which he would establish when he came. Today, while the world is perishing because of its own misguided and selfishly inspired judgment, its one hope lies in the fulfillment of the promise made by King Jesus that he would come, and in coming, would do for the world what it could not do for itself. The brightness of the hope that radiates from this promise is in the fact that the day in which Jesus is to be King is very near. The last hours of this night of sin are dark and stormy, but the light of his presence and the power of his kingdom will soon become manifest, and the darkness of the night will give way to the brightness of the new day of peace and joy and life for all mankind.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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