November 22, 2015 • Life for Leaders
In your strength the king rejoices, O LORD, and in your help how greatly he exults.”
Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday in the Christian year (or church year or liturgical year).
Millions of believers throughout the world focus today on the coming of God’s kingdom as we worship Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. Today is, in fact, the last Sunday of the Christian year. Next Sunday we begin the new year with the first Sunday of Advent. (Even if you do not follow the Christian year, I can think of no better devotional focus than the royalty of Christ.)
Psalm 21 speaks clearly into our celebration of Christ the King. Originally, this poem was a psalm of David that celebrated the victory or the coronation of an earthly king (perhaps David himself). Speaking to the Lord, David says, “For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold on his head” (21:3).
In this image of the crowning of the King of Israel, we see something of the future. We catch a glimpse of the day when Christ will be crowned as King of all creation, when every creature in heaven and on earth will bow before him (Phil 2:9-11). In that day, God’s peace will fill the earth. The wolf and the lamb will dwell together in harmony (Isa 11:6). Wars will cease and weapons of war will be turned into tools for farming (Isa 2:4). God’s justice will prevail throughout the world (Isa 42:4).
We aren’t there yet, are we? Yet, in anticipation of what is to come, and in recognition of the fact that Christ is King even today, we celebrate him and his reign. We do this with songs and prayers. And we do this by offering ourselves as his servants, living for him, not just today, but each and every day.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
In what ways do you experience Christ as King?
How might the fact that Christ is King change the way you live each day?
What aspects of the future kingdom do you long for today?
Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Thro’ all eternity.
Crown him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife
For those he came to save;
His glories now we sing
Who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.
Crown him the Lord of peace,
Whose pow’r a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be pray’r and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round his pierced feet
Fair flow’rs of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.
Crown him the Lord of love;
Behold his hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me:
Thy praise and glory shall not fail
“Crown Him with Many Crowns,” by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring, public domain.
An earlier version of this devotion appeared at The High Calling. It is used with permission under a Creative Commons license.
Image Credit: “StJohnsAshfield StainedGlass King” by Toby Hudson – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.