Have you ever heard of the following names?
– Jay Z
– Lebron James
– William Wales
– Kate Middleton
Next question is…what do you think all of these individuals have in common besides fame, money, power, influence, etc…?
Can you guess? Yes? No?
If not, I’ll tell you. They are each associated in one way or another with royalty. And they were all in the news recently. Together!
Prince William and Kate Middleton visited New York a couple of weeks ago. They took in part of an NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers which features superstar forward Lebron James and the visiting Brooklyn Nets who are owned by entertainment mogul, rapper Jay Z. During the course of the game, Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, both dubbed the King and Queen of Hip Hop or NYC royalty, took the opportunity after the third quarter to walk across the court to meet with the royal couple. News writers headlined their stories with lines such as “Royalty….meet royalty”
After the game, Lebron James, who’s nickname is King James, met with the couple for a photo and to present them with Cleveland basketball jerseys, one for the adult and the other for the child they are expecting. During the photo pose, king James put his arm around the future queen of England, Kate and the world of England exploded in horror and shock:
LONDON (AP) — When King James touched the future queen of England on the shoulder after a basketball game, royal watchers cried foul.
LeBron James, whose nickname is “King James,” met Prince William and his wife Kate at an NBA game between Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets in New York on Monday. The three posed for a photograph and James put his right hand on the Duchess of Cambridge’s right shoulder.
According to protocol in Britain, a commoner is not supposed to touch members of the royal family — even if it is an innocent gesture.
I thought to myself: wow! I suggested to my wife a couple of weeks ago that the only thing that these folks have in common is money. I find it difficult to believe that Prince William would listen to Jay Z kind of music. But then again, maybe he does…
Here’s another name that you may or may not be familiar with; and it is John, the apostle. He wrote about royalty. But only, this kind of royalty looked different. A king named Jesus. John’s treatment of the life and ministry of Jesus comes from a different angle than the other gospel writers. Matthew, the tax collector, writes with the Jewish culture in mind. He sets out to prove that Christ is the Messiah by going through Jesus’ genealogy.
Mark is a man of action. His telling of the life of Christ is quick and to the point. He uses the phrase “suddenly” or “immediately” often. It’s almost as if he writes in order to bring the pages of scripture to life. It has been said that it is the gospel for busy people because it is the shortest account of the four gospels.
Luke, a physician by trade, writes in a more poetic form and his angle is to give a full account of the life of Jesus based on, presumably, interviews he conducted with various individuals. Luke details the genealogy of Jesus from Mary’s side while Matthew gave the genealogy of Christ from Joseph’s side.
Then there is John. Who takes a step back. His account is written, as he states in chapter 20 verse 31: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Listen to what John says in chapter 1:
The eternal Word
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
John’s Witness: The True Light
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Word Becomes Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Do you ever have questions about Jesus? I know I did – A number of years ago, during Christmas time, Amy and I were at a family function and we got into a deep conversation because I was wrestling in my mind with a question: If we are all born with a sin nature, how is it that the Bible declares that Jesus was born without one? How is it that He was born through Mary and not inherit sin. Perhaps, I was wondering HOW could He then identify with us sinners if He didn’t have one? How do these things work??? Who is this man? Who is this man they call “King”. Who is this Jesus?
In the prequel to the Christmas story, John says, “in the beginning was the word”. The “Logos”, “discourse” or “reason” in Greek. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And He, Jesus is the agency by which everything was created. And in Him was life – not biogenesis life – the kind of life we’re living in now in the flesh but real, meaningful, eternal life.
He is light that shined in the darkness and scriptures declare that He came into our world, the world that He made. Yet, the world did not know Him, not even His own people.
But God became the Son of man in order to save the man of sin – verse 12 says “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
Verse 14: And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. The logos, tabernacled among us. He pitched his tent among us. He, who was outside of time and space as we know it, entered in. The King of Glory allowed Himself to be confined to the limitations that we experience from day to day. Simply put, Jesus is God, in the flesh – He is God, with skin on. Lest we misunderstand and over emphasize His manhood, He did not, at any point did He cease to be God.
This should be a comforting thing for believers who choose to follow Christ. The fact that He took on flesh in order to identify with us. When life hits us hard, we may feel like no one understands what we’re going through.
Just think for a few minutes – leaving the splendor and glory of Heaven in order to be in the womb of a teenage girl named Mary. Who would go on to have a scandalous reputation of conceiving Christ out of wedlock. He would go through the birth canal and be carried into the callous hands of his earthly father Joseph the carpenter. He would have to be taken care of by his parents. They bathed him, changed his diapers, fed him, changed his clothing. They taught their son, the word of God.
Then he would grow and experience many of what life has to offer – He had his moments of joy and excitement. He laughed and had good times. He enjoyed eating good food and having fellowship with other people. Then He would know what its like to be hungry and thirsty. He went to work with dad and came home tired after a long day of hard labor. He got dirty and had to clean up. Then He had to go to sleep because he was sleepy and needed rest. He experienced sadness, anguish and He cried. He experienced betrayal, slander and abuse. He experienced disappointment and death.
So, who is this King of Glory? The blessed prince of peace? The creator of all things? The Lord of earth and Heaven. The gracious King of kings? You know, the Christian band Third Day sings this song. I know you would like to hear me sing it! Not really.
But who is this King of Glory? He is Immanuel – Immanu means with us + El is a name for God – Elohiem. He is the “with us God” or God is with us. His name is Jesus. His royal story is unmatched and is unlike any royal individual on this planet. He left royalty in order to become a commoner. While Brittan says a commoner is not supposed to touch royalty, He told Thomas the skeptic after rising from the dead, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27 NKJV
He is with us. There is no need to be afraid or confused but be comforted by Him. He will make a way possible when it seems impossible. His grace will be enough to get us through. He will move us where He wants us to be and He will provide a way for us to see.
In the meantime, don’t lose heart. Our hope for us going forward is that He’s coming again, in a sequel, one day to take us to be with Himself. This is the message that we have been charged with for a lost and dying world.
Devotional contributor: Samuel Chavez