As we approach the Christmas season, I would like to recommend a book to you. Our Christmas carols are filled with “earth receiving her king,” and “born is the king of Israel,” and “ransom captive Israel.” But what does all of that mean? As we read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, there was clearly an expectation of a coming king. The scribes, Pharisees, and other religious leaders had an idea of what that leader would look like. Jesus presented himself as a king that was very different from what everyone was expecting.
The idea that the Messiah would be God Himself doesn’t even seem to be clearly established in the first-century theology. If it were, the disciples would not have asked, “Who is this that even the winds obey him?” (Matthew 8:27). They believed that God could control the wind and waves, but they didn’t have their minds wrapped around the idea of the Messiah-King being God Himself. Perhaps that is why Jesus had to re-explain the scriptures to some disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24). Perhaps this is why Paul spent three years in Arabia before going to minister (Galatians 1), he needed to relearn the Scriptures, having been taught incorrectly by the Pharisees.
Whatever it may be, Christmas is a season when we celebrate the arrival of the Messiah-King to whom all Scripture points and in whom all of God’s promises find their Amen (2 Cor 1:20). We would do well, then, to take a look back at how the idea of this Messiah-King developed throughout the Old Testament. Look beyond the “Christmas passages” of Isaiah and soak up the anticipation of the coming of the King of the Line of David, The Seed of Abraham, The Seed of Eve who will crush the head of the serpent.
For a quick read, that could be ordered on Amazon and read before December 25th, check out T.D. Alexander’s book entitled The Servant King: The Bible’s portrait of the Messiah. In about 150 pages, Alexander will walk you from Genesis 3 all the way through Revelation to see development and consummation of the Eternal King, God the Son Incarnate, Jesus Christ.