Giving Up Your Throne

Daily Devotional: Day 178

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matthew 2:2-3, NKJV).

Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem searching for the baby who had been born the King of the Jews. They didn’t come looking for the king of the Jews; they came looking for the King of the Jews. As you can see from today’s passage, when king Herod heard about this, “he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Up to this point, king Herod had no one contending for his throne. He didn’t have to look over his shoulders.

But, Herod woke up one day to find out that someone else was “King of the Jews.” Herod was devastated to hear this. He felt threatened, realizing that his throne was no longer safe. Power is sweet, and we know from experience that people don’t give up their power so easily. Moreover, the wise men from the East made their intention clear: They had come to worship, not king Herodbut baby King Jesus. This must have hurt king Herod’s pride, as we can see from the rest of the story. This is interesting, because based on Old Testament prophecies, all of Israel was looking forward to the Messiah, who would be King. Herod himself had this information verified by the chief priests and scribes (cf. Matthew 2:4-6).

Yet, instead of rejoicing over the fulfillment of God’s Word, Herod was rather disturbed. Why? Because he was worried about losing his tiny throne. He would rather eliminate the Messiah than give up his throne. Little did he know that Jesus wasn’t interested in political power. Today, you can learn something important from the tale of the two kings: Herod and Jesus.

Like Herod, many people feel threatened by Jesus, including even some Christians. You may wonder: How? Well, there are people who are threatened by the truth of God’s Word, and would make every effort to avoid it, resist it, or fight it. They wouldn’t want a Jesus who challenges their behavior, beliefs or lifestyle. They’d rather have no Jesus at all, or have a Jesus who wouldn’t shake up their world; the Jesus who would mind His own business and not interfere with their life. They want to serve Jesus, but on their own terms. They’d rather be ignorant than know the truth and feel obligated to renounce their false doctrines. Some ‘churches’ even feel threatened by the Bible, because the Bible exposes their error. They’ll, therefore, do whatever it takes to belittle and distort the Bible while bestowing divine status on their man-made traditions. 

But here’s the truth: Jesus doesn’t want your throne. He has his own Throne. But – and this is important – if you want Jesus to be your Messiah, your Lord and your King, then He demands that you give up your cute little “throne”: the throne of sin, the throne of  rebellion, the throne of false doctrines, the throne of pride, the throne of selfishness, the throne of fear, the throne of worldly lusts, the throne of addictions, the throne of lies, etc. The Messiah is here. The King of the Jews is here. Give up your throne and let Him take you to His throne, where you’ll find forgiveness, liberty, peace, joy and righteousness.

May the favor of the Lord surround you and your family today. Amen.

For further study: Luke 5:1-11

What Immanuel Means for You

Daily Devotional: Day 168

“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23, NKJV).

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ birth over seven hundred years before the event occurred. The Gospel of Matthew recalled this prophecy, noting that the Messiah shall be called Immanuel, a name which means “God with us.” Interestingly, there’s no record in the New Testament which shows that people called Jesus by the name Immanuel. Nevertheless, Jesus fulfilled the meaning of the name. His entire life was a demonstration of the fact that “God is with us.” Wherever Jesus showed up, lives were changed; the seemly impossible became possible. Just before He was taken up to heaven, He reminded us that He will always be God with us. He promised, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, emphasis added).

On the surface, the name “God is with us” sounds cliché. However, if we examine it carefully, we’ll find that God is sending us a profound message. In the history of Israel, there were times when the people thought that God had forgotten them (cf. Isaiah 49:14-15). When Lazarus died, Martha said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21, emphasis added). You can go through difficult times and God may seem ‘non-existent’ or unreachable. This might leave you wondering about many things. But, everything changes when you realize that the Lord is with you. Jesus is always here with you. With God, a virgin conceived and gave birth. With God, Lazarus came back from the dead. With God, there was enough bread for five thousand people. With God, Mary Magdalen was set free. The list goes on.

Jesus didn’t come into the world to show you what is impossible. He came to show you that with God all things are possible. When you and Jesus work together, there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. When you and Jesus work together, there is no enemy you cannot defeat. Today, Jesus wants to remind you that He still is Immanuel, “God with us,” fighting for His people, turning impossible into possible. Stay calm, and be joyful.

May the Lord supply all your needs in accordance with His tender mercies! Amen.  

For further study: Joshua 1:1-9