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Why Jesus As King Makes America Uncomfortable

Americans experience shortness of breath, stomach cramps and blurred vision when thinking of Jesus as a king.

by Bob Kerstetter

Liberty, opportunity and responsibility are the ideals of the American spirit. When they internalize these principles, Americans develop personal, social and political allergies to title, rank and royalty.

rembrandt head of christBecause of this, many Americans experience shortness of breath, stomach cramps and blurred vision when thinking of Jesus as a king. These symptoms expose America’s struggle with the concepts of monarchy.

Royalty made Americans sneeze and cough from the beginning. After wiping away King George, the grateful colonies offered kingship to their military commander and chief. In essence, George Washington replied, “No thanks. Why replace one King George with another? I’m outta here.”

Within a few years, the U. S. Constitutional Convention assembled under the watchful eye of George Washington, who could not be outta there after all. The resulting document is simply the most freeing and lasting political foundation ever created by a diverse group of humans. One reason for its success: it bans government-endorsed royalty in the United States for as long as the American republic exists.

So, talk about Jesus being a king makes American eyes glaze over. Words describing Jesus as royalty just fly by millions of totally free American ears. The basic thought is this: America has no king, America needs no king, with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkein.

Often, the behavior of modern royalty seems to support the American view. With some exceptions, royals are rich, amusing, egocentric and sometimes pretty silly. Royals tends toward decadence, greed, undo formalism and oppression of people, especially women. Of course, some royals are truly regal and love their subjects. But often they operate above, below and around the rule of natural law. From the view of America, most kings, queens and satraps are pretty aloof. So why would an American follow anyone—including Jesus—as king?

The answer is simple. The behavior of Jesus presents royalty at its perfect best. His subjects were in trouble. Deadly trouble. Looking for a solution, there was no one able to rescue them. So Jesus said, “Hey, I can do this. I’ll go myself.”

Some years after arriving on earth he said, “If you want to lead, you must be ready, willing and able to serve.”

So he did. He came, served, willingly died and rose from the dead as the king of a spiritual kingdom. And he’s coming back to get us, those of us who trust him. Then comes the physical kingdom.

His present and future kingdoms are for his people worldwide, not just for royalty-troubled Americans. The kingdom of Jesus claims all who hear him, walk humbly with him and trust him. He is the most inclusive monarch of any time.

This is royalty even stubborn, strong-willed and free people can follow.

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