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Jesus . . . disturbing presence

David Capes
By David Capes
December 27, 2012

Not long after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem asking questions.  While living in the east they had seen an unusual star in the sky.  They knew the night sky like the back of their hands, so any change, however slight, caught their attention.  They journeyed west to the land we know today as Israel and asked where the King of the Jews was to be born. 

Their quest set in motion the events that followed.

Here is the key passage (Matthew 2:3-4):

King Herod began to hear rumors of the wise men’s quest, and he, and all of his followers in Jerusalem, were worried.  So Herod called all the leading Jewish teachers, the chief priests and head scribes, and he asked them where the Hebrew tradition claimed the long-awaited Anointed One would be born.

The learned men responded in the words of the prophet Micah: “Bethlehem, in the land of Judah.”

People have often wondered why this news worried and disturbed Herod and so many others.  Recently, Dr. Mark Denison, pastor of FBC in Conroe, made an interesting statement: “Jesus is in the business of disturbing the one seated on his throne.”  (I read his statement on Jim Denison's excellent forum on culture and religion.  Here is a link: http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5369bb601ac44bfdda928110b&id=f842abe467&e=253f206a9d).

You see, the throne Herod occupied belonged rightly to the family of David.  Herod was not a legitimate heir to the throne. How Herod got there was a matter of political intrigue and power. How he held on to power was a matter of his ruthless and violent tendencies.  He was right to be concerned because soon he would be dead, and the baby Jesus would be spirited away by his family for a brief sojourn in Egypt.  God would protect him from Herod’s ruthless policies in the same way Moses’ mother protected her newborn from Pharaoh’s.

Jesus was then and continues to be a disturbing presence to anyone who snatches power and holds on to it by oppressing the weak. Jesus belongs rightly on the throne of the universe, and anyone who holds power should do so humbly and in his honor.  He is Lord of the cosmos. Perhaps his lordship is hidden now, but it manifests itself from time to time in unusual ways.  One day it will be manifest for all to see. 

Leaders are in a precarious position.  Whether they own a business, hold political power, manage people and assets, or make decisions that affect others, they do so under the sovereign power of the One True God and Lord of the universe. They are accountable ultimately to Jesus for how they lead.  They may not sit on a literal throne, but they are in charge; and anyone who is in charge must be mindful of the One who is really in charge and discharge their duties accordingly.  If you lead well and in his name, then all will be well with you. But if you lead badly and contrary to his will, then you will find Jesus a disturbing presence.   


David Capes lives in Texas and is the Thomas Nelson Research Professor at Houston Baptist University. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Religion at Mercer University in Atlanta, his Master's in Divinity and his doctorate in New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas. He is the author of numerous publications and is one of the top scholars and writers for The Voice.


David said...
January 1, 2013
Thank you for this reminder that leadership is the humblest position of all! How counter to the world's thinking!
David said...
January 2, 2013
Thanks, David. I couldn't agree more. The ways of Christ and the gospel run counter to the wisdom of this world. Those who lord over others will one day find they are last and least.

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