The Coming of the King!
v.5 Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and He shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
Dear friends in Christ, this past September we witnessed the coming of the new King of England—Charles III. After reigning more than 70years as queen, Charles' mother—Queen Elizabeth II—died and went to her Lord and Savior Jesus. Much has been said about how Charles III will conduct himself as the new King of England. Of course, only time will tell.
The prophet Jeremiah in our text also had much to say about various kings of Judah. The Lord had scathing words of rebuke to those who were to shepherd and guide His people—but who shirked their duty—casting off the works of the Lord and using and abusing the people for their own greed and gain—and leading them to do the same. So the Lord promises that the kingdom of Judah will ultimately suffer for their lack of faith—that they will be overtaken by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar—taken into exile—and there die outside the Promised Land.
Yet the Lord did not leave His people with a word of utter disaster and despair. Indeed, for here in our text we read of the promised coming of a new king—a righteous king—a just king. One who would shepherd and guide the people aright according the Word of God—one who would actually save His people—uniting the kingdoms of Judah and Israel—declaring them righteous in His sight—and returning them to the sheepfold of the Lord in the Promised Land. This king would be for David a Righteous Branch—of the line and lineage of David (ancient Israel's greatest king), but would surpass David in every respect.
Boy, don't we long for a king—or any ruler—like that? Someone who will do right by the people they are pledged to govern. One who will care for them. One who will execute justice and truth according to God's Word. One who will actually sacrifice for the people—giving them of Himself—rather than taking from the people, and offering them unjust and crooked laws that benefit the rulers. One who will advocate for the needy and oppressed, and teach the people to do likewise.
In the democratic processes of our country, we are blessed to be able to vote for those who govern us, but we have to be honest that even when the people we actually want to see elected are elected, the results still leave much to be desired. For our rulers—even the very best ones—are still human beings—sinners—and so are fallen creatures—susceptible to all the temptations that plague each and every one of us. This is why the Scriptures readily declare in abundance (Psalm 118:9), "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes."
Not so, however, with the king described by the prophet Jeremiah. Why? Because this king is no ordinary king. This king—the Righteous Branch for David—stems from God Almighty—IS God Almighty in the flesh—our Jesus—whom the people welcomed with great joy on Palm Sunday—hailing Him as their prophet king. Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah—the King of Judah, Israel, and ALL creation. He is the One who will truly be the Good Shepherd of His people—dealing with them in truth and justice—pouring out upon sinners His own blessed righteousness. For, as Jesus says (John 10:11), "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
The Lord Jesus—the true King of the world—has come to lay down His life for us on the cross—dying the death we deserve for our sins—our unrighteousness. He sheds His blood that we might be forgiven, cleansed, restored—brought back to the sheepfold of our God to dwell forevermore in safety and peace—fed and nourished by His strong right arm.
This King Jesus is not swayed my man's opinion. He cannot be bribed. He cannot be deceived. He knows all and sees all. He knows your darkest, deepest secrets—those things of which you are most ashamed. He knows the sins that keep you up at night, guilt plaguing your dreams. He knows them all—and He has died for them all—to set you free from your guilt and shame—to rejoice in His salvation—His righteousness. That you might shout, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" For Hosanna is a prayer crying to God for help and salvation. This is what Jesus brings! This is what Jesus has accomplished! His blood purifies us from all sin—washing away our unrighteousness—which is why He is called, "The Lord is our righteousness!"
What a glorious confession, beloved! What a wondrous truth! That the Lord God Almighty has deigned to come in human flesh to save us—to be our righteousness! That we may look to Him—trust in Him alone—as our refuge and strength. Sure, we participate in the political processes of our nations, because it is good for us to do so. It is a tremendous privilege and duty we have as citizens of our earthly nations. But we never forget as Christians that our true citizenship lies in heaven with our true King—Jesus.
Indeed, we are not surprised when our fallen earthly rulers sometimes act and behave in ways that are contrary to the truth and justice of God. We are saddened by it—as we are at any instance of sin—but we are not surprised. Nor are we demoralized—thinking that all is lost because our earthly rulers act in unjust ways, taking advantage of the people they are to govern. Instead, we lift up our eyes to our heavenly King—knowing that He will come again to Judge both the living and the dead, as we confess in the Creed. Jesus is—and always will be—King of all. As such, we have supreme confidence that in the end, all will be made right—all will come under His just and righteous reign and judgement. And we need not fear His judgement for our sins, for we know that He has already paid for our sins with His own life's blood.
And so, beloved, we join in lifting up our souls to He who is our King of kings and Lord of lords! Our goodly king who has served us with His perfect life, suffering death, and glorious resurrection. Our King who will come again on the Last Day to set all things right—to make all things new—to usher in His new creation where there will be no sin, suffering, sorrowing, or dying of any kind. Where truth and justice will reign forevermore—for our Lord Jesus is Truth and Justice incarnate—made flesh—and the Father has placed the entire universe as His footstool for Him to rule and govern.
What have we to worry about if our earthly rulers cause us harm or distress? Our hope is not in them—in some sort of utopia on this earth. That is an impossibility—an absurdity in this fallen and broken world. Rather, we trust in our heavenly King Jesus—our Good Shepherd—the Lord who is our righteousness. In Him we will not be shaken. In Him we shall forever dwell in the Promised Land of Paradise. Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus. Amen.