As I recently wrote, its been amazing to see the outpouring of admiration and support for Barack Obama. His approval rating has dropped since he actually took office and began leading, but the honeymoon is still in full swing. People are desperate for him to be a great leader.
But even his fans probably wouldn’t want him to be the king of America. They still prefer him to be our president.
I’ve never met a president. My father has - Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. I had the chance to be in the same room with both of those presidents. And I once was in a crowded airport in the presence of the late King Hussein of Jordan.
There’s a difference between a king and a president.
- A president deserves an inauguration
- A king deserves a coronation
- A president governs a democracy
- A king rules a kingdom
- A president is elected when all citizens vote
- A king is voted in office by no one
- A president swears an oath [35 words to be exact]
- A king swears by his family name
- A president governs based on a constitution
- A king rules based on a bloodline
- A president hears the people raise their voice in opinion
- A king sees the people bend the knee and bow the head
The problem with many of us is that we sometimes treat Jesus as our president instead of our king.
We act as if His kingdom is a democracy, as if we get to cast a vote for His leadership, as if we can voice our opinion about His agenda, as if He should adjust His policies based on our wishes.
Our American Christianity has been infected with democracy and capitalism. Those ideas make for a great nation and economic system - but they are not the design of the kingdom of God.
Two scenes show this contrast: John 12 and John 19.
John 12 tells the story of Jesus followers celebrating His Triumphal Entry. He rides on a donkey from Mt.Olives into Jerusalem on a Sunday, fulfilling prophecy [Zechariah 9:9, Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 62:11]. They enthusiastically accompany Him, shaking palm branches and singing Psalms 118, “Hosanna!” They recognize Jesus as their king.
But five days later John 19 shows a violently different picture. Its Friday morning, in Pilate’s courtyard. A religious crowd, including the Jewish leaders, are crying out for Jesus’ crucifixion. “He is not our king!” These religious people - perhaps some of the same ones who at the beginning of the week had considered Jesus their king - were now treating Him like a president. He had disappointed their desires for a political, economic, or military solution to their troubles - and so they were “voting Him out.”
Jesus had threatened their power.
He exposed their sin, hypocrisy.
He ruined their religion.
The honeymoon was over.
Its amazing but true. Over time, passionate followers of King Jesus can subtly become religious voters, citizens who want Him to respond to their lobbying. But Jesus is a king, not a president. So how do we keep proper perspective?
Look back to John 12. The Sunday morning Mt.Olives crowd had these characteristics:
- They knew scripture, and so they recognized the prophecy unfolding in front of them. If I stay focused on God’s Word it will always point my attention to the King.
- They risked scorn or worse from the Romans to worship the King publicly and joyfully. If I practice reckless, passionate worship I will stay focused on the King.
- They followed Jesus down the road towards the Temple. If I practice devout obedience, I will maintain my submission to the King
Where is your allegiance? Is Jesus king, or president of your life?
If you answered the latter, then its time for a Triumphal Entry into your heart.