Kingship

Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king! To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth: everyone that is of the truth hearest my voice.

— — John 18:37

What then is the kingdom over which the Lord cares to reign, for he says he came into the world to be a king? I answer, a kingdom of kings, and no other. Where every man is a king, there only does the Lord care to reign, in the name of his father. A king must rule over his own kind. Jesus is a king in virtue of no conquest, inheritance, or election, but in right of essential being; and he cares for no subjects but such as are his subjects in the same right. His subjects must be, in their very nature and essence, kings. The Lord’s is a kingdom in which no man seeks to be above another. He says, “I am a king, for I was born for the purpose, I came into the world with the object of bearing witness to the truth. Everyone that is of my kind, that is of the truth, hears my voice. He is a king like me, and makes one of my subjects.” Pilate thereupon—as would most Christians nowadays, instead of setting about being true—requests a definition of truth, a presentation to his intellect; but instantly, whether confident of the uselessness of the inquiry, or intending to resume it when he has set the Lord at liberty, goes out to the people to tell them he finds no fault in him.  Whatever interpretation we put on his action here, he must be far less worthy of blame than those “Christians” who, instead of setting themselves to be pure “even as he is pure,” to be their brother and sister’s keeper, and to serve God by being honorable in their place of work, proceed to “serve” him, some by going to church, some by condemning the opinions of their neighbors, some by teaching others what they do not themselves heed.

Commentary

by James House

Our Lord and King wants us to be conquerors as he is.   He will not lead hypocrites - nor have much to do with them, other than to rouse their awareness of the need to change.

We must become rulers of ourselves such that we can offer him full service toward our brothers and sisters.

Does falling short make us hypocrites?   Many today are quick - eager even - to point out what they claim to be the hypocrisy of others.  Falling short, failing to live up to one's own proclaimed standards does not necessarily make a person a hypocrite, though many today use the outward evidence of having failed as proof-positive of hypocrisy.  Political foes, for example, are frequently found gleefully shouting "Hypocrite!  See here:  proof of hypocrisy on my foes' side". This creates caustic interactions between us, and worse, is followed with the implication that the assumed hypocrite must be wrong in all things, and that they should be fully devalued and shunned, and that it is justifiable to do so.

The Lord asks us to be mindful of our own actions, and not others' - and to be especially careful of judging the motivations of others.  We should examine on which points we ourselves are still falling short, and continue each day to fight the battle to conquer each weakness.  It's only when we profess something to be the way, and don't even attempt live it, that makes us a hypocrite - not the falling short while truly trying.  When we see our brothers and sisters fail to live up to what they believe, we need to be ready to believe that they were trying, that they have challenges as we do.

Thankfully the Lord judges us for what is in our hearts and blesses us for our honest efforts.  As George MacDonald said, He is easily pleased, but hard to satisfy.   Of that I am sure, and I hope to succeed a little more each day in pleasing him:  in being more of a true ruler of myself, of progressing toward being someone to whom he can most fully be King.