Week 20: The Return of the (true) King

by Chris Rousell

Simba, Maximus, Aragorn, Aslan. There is something about stories in which the true king returns to seize their rightful place on the throne that strikes a chord with us. There is something about these stories, these heroes that make our hearts swell with joy at the climax. Often these kings come when the kingdom is in a dark place, perhaps even suffering under a false king, or a king abusing their power.

In this week’s sections of 2 Samuel and Mark, we see these two motifs play out in their fullness. We have the great King David, in a great abuse of power, seduces and impregnates Bathsheba and has her husband killed to cover up his tracks.

We also have the true King, Jesus, triumphantly entering Jerusalem in the midst of a great fanfare. The Jews present knew the symbolism behind Jesus’ entry on a donkey- Jesus was the Messiah, the true and long promised king, returning to free his captive people and assume his rightful place on the throne. What else could lie behind society’s impulse to retell stories of returning kings but the ghost of this first hope?

However, in spite of Israel’s idea of what a king should be like, and what our idea of a king should be like, Jesus’ idea of kingship is radically different. Whereas the kings of our stories return with shouts of triumph and joyful coronation by his subjects, Jesus returns with shouts of triumph followed by total abandonment by his closest friends- Jesus was willing to give up everything for His people; what a truly marvellous king we have.

Questions to ponder as you read this week:

  • Do you ever feel like King David? Are you ever tempted to do something you know you shouldn’t but give in?
  • Bring these to the throne of our great King- He will forgive you!
  • Jesus was willing to give up everything for us- is there anything in your life you should give up for Him?