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Volume 23, Issue 38 (September 19, 2021)

Jesus, the Glorious King
By Shane Carrington


There are many portraits of Jesus: no one description exhausts our inexhaustible subject. Jesus is the Powerful Creator, the Divine Servant, the Lamb of God, the Compassionate High Priest, the Glorious King, and the Righteous Judge. These descriptions are a good start, but one could spend a lifetime scaling the heights and plumbing the depths of the God-Man and His true meaning.

Matthew’s gospel reveals many of Jesus’s facets, including His kingship. He begins with a flurry: “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David. . .” (Matt. 1:1, NASB). Wasting no time and mincing no words, the author affirms that Jesus is the Messiah (or Christ), the ultimate King of Israel, whom God promised David would come in his lineage (2 Sam. 7:8-17). From there, this gospel account gains momentum (Matt. 1:1, 6, 16-17). Let’s briefly consider four vignettes.

Jesus: Born to Be King

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. . .” (Matt. 1:18). Remember, every time Jews heard “Christ,” they always thought, “anointed king, the ultimate descendant of David who would sit on David’s throne.” Their understanding of what that meant fell short of the biblical portrait, but they heard “Davidic king” when they heard “Christ.”

Consider the manner of kingship Jesus possesses by birth, as revealed in Matthew 1.

•     He fulfills prophecies concerning both David and Abraham (Matt. 1:1-17), which anchor God’s promises to Israel and the world (Gen. 12:1-3).

•     He is both human (born of the virgin Mary [Matt. 1:18-20, 22-23; cf. Gen. 3:15]) and divine (conceived of the Holy Spirit [Matt. 1:18, 20, 23; cf. Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7]).

•     As legal Son of Joseph, a descendant of David in the royal line (Matt. 1:20; cf. 1:1-17), Jesus is Savior-King (Matt. 1:21). Spiritual redemption, not nationalistic liberation, is the focus of His mission.

•     As King, Jesus wears the name that represents and points to the nature and singular authority of the Godhead Three (Matt. 1:21, 23, 25; cf. 28:18-20). Concerning the name “Jesus,” “its Hebrew antecedent, Joshua, means ‘The Lord (i.e., Yahweh)is salvation’” (Mounce, 366).

Some today would accept Jesus as their Savior, but not as their King. They seek rescue and hope but reject the thought of submitting to His direction and lordship. In reality, we must accept Him as both, or He will be neither. Jesus was born to reign, and His kingship accesses and leads heavenward.

Jesus: Kingly Identity (Matt. 16:13-20)

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). This vital statement of Simon answers the question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). The question concerning Jesus’s identity confused the masses, and, even though the apostles understood Jesus was Christ and King, they wrestled with the true meaning of those titles (Matt. 18:1ff; 20:20-28).

The crowds viewed Jesus as a prophet (Matt. 16:13-14). The work of teaching God’s word was central in His ministry. Rather than a despot uttering useless, arbitrary demands, Jesus opened hearts and minds through exemplifying godliness and teaching God’s transforming message that saves souls, shapes lives, and secures hope. This is the type of kingdom He established, over which He reigns, and, concerning which, He gave its keys to the apostles (Matt. 16:18-19).

Jesus: Kingly Entry (Matt. 21:1-11)

As His earthly sojourn and ministry were concluding, Jesus approached Jerusalem. Fulfilling prophecy, He rode into town on a donkey. The masses, including children, hailed Him: “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt. 21:9).

This angered the Jewish leaders because they knew the meaning of these descriptors (Matt. 21:15-16). The people were proclaiming Jesus the King, Christ, ultimate Leader in the lineage and mold of David, and the fulfillment of all those Messianic prophecies they held so dearly—a fact even children could understand!

While the masses lacked a full understanding of the spiritual nature of the Messiah’s kingship, they viewed Jesus as Christ. This, in part, resulted in outrage by the Jewish hierarchy and led to Jesus’s execution.

Jesus: Kingly Marching Orders

After Jesus fulfilled His earthly mission, He ascended to the right hand of God to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. When the last day arrives, the Son of Man and King (Matt. 25:31, 34) will render final judgment on all humanity (Matt. 25:31-46). What manner of preparation fits us for meeting Him in peace?

His final marching orders conclude Matthew’s account. Jesus addressed the apostles, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

This manner of preparation includes responsibilities for both current and potential disciples. Jesus the King has “the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9; cf. 1 Tim. 6:13-16), possessing “all authority. . . in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Let us, therefore, preach Jesus as King, urging loving submission to our Lord, and exemplify discipleship rooted in His death, burial, and resurrection (cf. Rom. 6:1-18).

The great commission contains even greater riches than is initially evident. Consider two additional concepts:

First, the commission completes an important inclusio (i.e., bookends that summarize important teachings found from chapters 1 and 28). In Matthew 1:23, Jesus is called “Immanuel, which translated means, ‘God with us.’” In the last verse of the book, Jesus says, “I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). God is with us always because Immanuel, the God-Man, came to us as one of us to reign among us as our ultimate King.

Second, the great commission contains obvious allusions to Daniel 7:13-14, which discusses God’s kingdom and reads: “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed” (NASB).

Note the parallels: Jesus possesses “all authority . . . in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Daniel’s prophecy says, “To Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him.” Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me. . .” (Matt. 28:18), or as declared in Daniel, “He came up to the Ancient of Days. . . and to Him (i.e., the Son of Man) was given dominion. . . .” Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. . .” (Matt. 28:19), while Daniel reads, “That all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him.” Jesus summarized, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20), or as written in Daniel, “And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” The great commission powerfully touches upon essential themes revealed about the Son of Man in Daniel 7.


No single descriptor exhausts our Savior-King. “God with us” (Matt. 1:23) came to “save His people from their sins,” because the virgin shall be with Child and shall bear a Son (Matt. 1:21), so Jesus might become our King: “the Messiah, the son of David” (Matt. 1:1). Rejoice in the gospel of Jesus, our crucified, resurrected, enthroned King! 


Mounce, William D. Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.

Truth Magazine 65.2 (Feb. 2021): 30-31

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