When Jesus is King

Take a moment to read Luke 19:11-27. In this chapter, Jesus and the disciples are heading to Jerusalem. As they approach Israel’s capital, the disciples assume that the kingdom Jesus had been announcing for three years is finally going to appear. Aware of their misguided assumption, Jesus stops to tell the disciples a story – a story about a man who would be king, an unexpected delay in his coming, and an ensuing dilemma for those left to determine their fates during his absence.

Our journey together begins with this parable because Jesus’ words are as relevant for us today as they were to his first disciples. While the delay in the King’s return is no longer a surprise, we’re still living amidst the same dilemma as we wait: the world is hostile toward any would-be king claiming authority over them. And here, amidst the anticipation and the hostility, we come to the main point of Jesus’ parable:

The lives we live as we await the Kings return will determine our places in his eternal kingdom.

This parable is not just relevant for Christians. Every person you or I will ever know is living out their lives between verses 14 & 15. Jesus has claimed to be the King, and the world is waiting to see what the outcome will be. This means that Luke 19 is not just some religious story. It’s the human story. And in this story, people emerge with one of three stereotypical responses:

  1. Independence/Rebellion: Many people are insulted at the King’s claim of authority over their lives and blatantly oppose his reign.
  2. Cautious Neutrality: Some “servants” of the King lack confidence in his return and in the reality of his coming kingdom. Rather than risk association with the King amidst a hostile environment, they opt for cautious neutrality as they await the outcome. They don’t blatantly oppose the King, but neither are they willing to invest their lives in the King’s business. Instead, they pursue their own agendas as they wait to see what becomes of the kingdom.
  3. Faithful/Allegiant Service: Faithful servants of the King put their lives and personal agendas on the line to dedicate themselves to the King’s business during his absence. They live in confident anticipation of the King’s return and his subsequent reign.

As with most of Jesus’ parables, the dilemma is that there’s no escape. Like it or not, we’re all part of the story. So the decision before us isn’t whether or not we’ll participate, it’s simply a matter of how.

For people who think there’s any chance that the Bible is true, it only makes sense to take Jesus’ words seriously. It’s time to learn to live more and more as faithful servants. We’re already living when Jesus is King. Our lives here & now are of eternal significance. Let’s learn to live in such a way as to rightfully anticipate these words on the day that we stand before our King:

Well done, good and faithful servant. Because you have been faithful in a little, you shall have authority in my kingdom.(Luke 19:17)

(Excerpt from Reimagining Discipleship)

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