Friday, December 15, 2006

Who Is the King of Glory?

During this season of Advent when Handel's Messiah, especially the "Hallelujah" Chorus, is much in use, it seems appropriate to ask the question that Handel so wonderfully presents and answers in this oratorio. The question and answer are provided throughout the work but particularly in the part that utilizes Psalm 24:7-10 :

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is the King of glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

The King of Glory is Jesus, the Lord of Hosts, who comes to His people to save them and the world from their sin. He is the omnipotent Creator of all that exists and the righteous Judge to whom all mankind and angels must answer. Yet He comes humbly as a little baby born of the virgin, Mary. He lives a humble life and gives His life as a ransom for those enslaved to sin, death, and the power of the devil. He continues to come in the most seemingly humble of means, the administration of the Word in preaching, Baptism, and the Sacrament of the Altar.

His name is well known throughout the world. Wherever Hollywood has gone, so has the name of Jesus. Movie goers the world over have heard His name used in the movies that they have paid dearly to watch. God, Jesus, Christ, even the newly fashioned Jesus H Christ (apparently from the symbol IHS) is used whenever a person wants to make the most emphatic statement of surprise or shock or fear or anger that can possibly be made. Truly, even though the use of His name is not from faith and holiness, it is nevertheless recognition that He is the King of Glory.

After all, what good is it to use the name of Allah or Buddha to make such a point of emphasis? Who will be impressed by use of these names or any other name. The names of certain other powerful kings have been used, especially of the English King George, where people have said, "By George."

But when people really want to make an impression and call attention to something, they use the name of the King of Glory.

Now, while those who actually believe in such entities as Allah and Buddha certainly do bring powerful destruction upon themselves and those who are so foolish as to be drawn into their doctrines and practices, these names carry no real power. Even the destruction that is wrought by the use of these names is purely by whatever puny humans cause. The followers of Allah, for example, are moved toward hatred and destruction both of themselves and of others. Yet never is Allah actually observed acting either in behalf of these worshipers of Muhammad, nor against Muhammad's enemies. Allah is always referred to by the followers of Muhammad as "Allah the Merciful," yet who has ever observed any act of mercy by Allah?

No, the King of Glory is the one who came from heaven, setting aside the use of His mighty power so as to take the sin of the world into His own body and die as a sinner for all the sinful world. He alone defines mercy. He alone shows true power. For in His death, death is destroyed. By His condemnation, condemnation is annihilated. In His resurrection, life is given for those who by their own actions have brought death to the world and to themselves.

Yes, Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, He truly is the King of Glory from eternity. His glory shall endure forever and all who trust in Him shall share in it with Him, not by their own acts of glory or faithfulness, but by His alone. Grace, mercy, and peace are the results of what He works in people's hearts and souls. Who but the Triune God manifested in the person and work of Jesus could accomplish this? Truly He is the King of Glory.

1 comment:

Ron the ranch hand said...

King of Glory indeed! Glory to Him in the highest. Interesting concept on the use of God's Holy name in blasphemy, showing that other names are of no import. The name of Jesus can stir up anger and other strong responses like no other name under heaven.

May God bless you and your family in this Advent season.