Praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Text: Revelation 19:11-16
There’s nothing easy about being a Christian. We are living in a world where we are the vast minority. Christians are outnumbered almost three to one on this planet. To make it more challenging, we are left to believe in and defend Jesus whom we cannot see and whom we have never seen. We speak about and believe in a God that we only partly understand. That’s not easy.
The disciples had it made compared to us. They got to walk and talk with Jesus. They could see him, listen to him, eat with him, touch him. They were eyewitnesses to his miracles, his death, his resurrection. They saw Jesus ascend into heaven. We Christians would give anything to do that!
Yet many of the disciples were left with questions. They were unsure of being left behind. They were unsure of being alone. They were unsure of how they were going to carry out their task of making other disciples. So if those eyewitness disciples were left with questions or doubts in their minds, how much more difficult is it for us who have never seen Jesus before!
It shakes our confidence at times. There is so much evil around us. Terrible things are happening every day. And because we can’t see Jesus we feel alone and helpless.
Today we receive just the encouragement we need. The apostle John shares his vision of our great King and Lord Jesus Christ. This vision gives us courage and comfort to Praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords for what he has done, for what he does now, and for what he will do.
It does not take much effort to look around and see the evil in the world today. Just open a web page or look at the front page of a newspaper and you’ll quickly see the latest horrific news story. Every week, without fail, some terrible new thing happens. Some new criminal is on the loose. Some new scam artist is stealing millions. Some U.S. embassy is being surrounded and attacked. That was the big news of this last week. Controversy has erupted over the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
This continual barrage of evil around us in the world comes from Satan. He is the one who loves to wreak havoc, leading people into sinful ways both new and old.
That attack in Benghazi reminds us of the way that Satan works, too. Sometimes he works behind the scenes plotting and planning, working up to an attack of temptations. Sometimes he attacks with only a few small temptations, a minor sin or two that might go unnoticed. But there are other times when he storms the consulate. He surrounds us with evil and attacks with the full forces of his power in an attempt to utterly destroy us.
Certainly we have fallen prey to the devil’s attacks plenty of times. He’s good at being bad. He knows exactly how to tempt each of us. He knows our weaknesses. He knows our pet sins. He knows how to make us trip up and he knows how to make us fall flat on our face.
This is scary. It leaves us feeling hopeless and helpless. How can we fight against this great power of Satan? How can we overcome his continual onslaught of temptations?
If only Satan were our only enemy! We are under attack from the sinfulness of this world as well. Every day we have to fight off our own sinful urges and cravings to give in to what the world around us thinks is cool or fun.
This is a world where doing anything and everything you want is acceptable, even expected. As long as you have fun then you can do anything you want. As long as you have love then you can do anything you want. As long as you don’t hurt anyone else then you can do anything you want. It’s a mindset that convinces us we are never wrong, no one should ever judge us, and everything is permissible.
And yes, we have given in to these temptations of the world around us, too. It feels good to be able to do whatever we want. It feels good to justify our actions by saying, “Well he’s doing it, too!” or, “Well you are no better than I am.”
This is scary. It leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless. How can we fight against the great temptations of the world around us? How can we overcome the continual attack of temptations to act like the world around us? How can we overcome our inner desires to do anything and everything we want?
If only Satan and the sinful world and our own sinful desires were our only enemies! Unfortunately there are real people that are enemies to us as well. Some people in this world would gladly take any opportunity to kill Christians. Some people in this world would gladly take any opportunity to make fun of Christians. Some people make our Christian lives difficult, and some people are bad influences on our Christian lives.
This is scary. It leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless. What are we to do when so many are against us? How can we stand up to all these enemies that oppose Christianity? How can we feel safe when we are so greatly outnumbered?
There’s nothing easy about being a Christian. We are outnumbered. We are under attack. There is sin all around us.
Soon we begin to worry. Soon we begin to doubt. Why did Jesus leave us? Why did he have to ascend into heaven? When is he going to start protecting us? When is he going to start making things easier for us? When is he going to come back for us?
Just as we are about to doubt, just as we are about to despair, just as we are left with the disciples gazing up into the clouds looking for Jesus, we hear encouraging words from the apostle John. He shares with us what he saw in an incredible vision of Jesus. These words remind us what Jesus has done, what he does now, and what he will do.
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” The vision John sees is of Judgment Day. Jesus is pictured as riding on a white horse, coming to judge. The horse is white because Jesus is perfect, holy, and righteous. His name is Faithful and True because he keeps all his promises. Jesus always does what he says. Jesus always fulfills what he promises. He is faithful to his word and he is true in what he says.
This verse reminds us of what Jesus has done for us. He is our perfect, holy, and righteous substitute. He is the one who came to this world to fulfill all of God’s commands and live the way we could not. He overcame every temptation and lived a perfect life. He kept all of God’s promises and was true to what God said he would do.
John continues, “With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.” This perfect Savior Jesus also judges with justice. He is just and true in following through with what he says. His eyes are like blazing fire because he knows all and sees all. He’s wearing many crowns that are the champion’s crown. One crown isn’t enough for Jesus. Our great Victor and King deserves many crowns.
These words also remind us of what Jesus has done for us. He has conquered all our enemies. By his death he defeated sin and Satan. He wears crowns of victory because he has conquered death and hell.
At the same time these words remind us of what Jesus does for us now. As our triumphantly crowned King, Jesus is able to protect us and keep us safe from all our enemies. As the one who defeated Satan he is able to give us the strength to overcome temptation. And as the one whose blazing eyes know all that we have done and who will judge us justly we can give thanks that his victory over Satan washes away our sins and makes us perfect in his sight. So great is Jesus that only he knows his name, his name which he reveals to us, his people—Lord, God, Savior.
Verses 13-14, “He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.” At first glance we might think that this blood on his robe is his own blood, the blood he shed to forgive all our sins. Those are good Bible thoughts. But then we remember that the context for this vision is Jesus returning on Judgment Day. Then we look at the surrounding chapters of Revelation and at other similar pictures of Scripture and we realize this isn’t Jesus’ blood. This blood is the blood of his enemies. Jesus is riding with all the armies of heaven, bent on one final conquest of all his enemies.
These words again remind us of what Jesus has done for us—that he has already won the battle against sin and Satan. These words again remind us of what Jesus does for us right now—that he has the power to watch over and protect us in all that we do. And these words remind us what Jesus will do on the Last Day—he will come back to defeat his enemies once and for all.
Check out the great weapon he wields in verse 15: “Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule the with an iron scepter.’ (a quote from Psalm 2) “He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” We learn clearly from other parts of Scripture that this sharp sword is the Word of God, the Bible. It is powerful like a sword because it convicts people of their sins and condemns them to hell. By this powerful Word he rules over all. By this powerful Word he will come back to judge all and squash his enemies like grapes in a winepress. More reminders of what God does now for us and will do for us on the Last Day.
Finally verse 16: “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” As if it hasn’t been clear yet to us from all that he has done, Jesus has this name clearly visible for all to see: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. There is no one as great as he. There is no one as powerful as he.
Just this name alone reminds us of what Jesus has done, does now, and will do for us. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords he stands as the Living One who rose triumphant from the dead and saved us from death. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords he stands as the Mighty One who watches over us and protects us every single day. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords he stands as the Eternal One who will rule over all things for all eternity without end.
There is certainly nothing easy about being a Christian. It often feels like the walls are closing in on us. This world is getting more and more evil. Satan’s attacks are getting more and more deadly. Life as a Christian is getting more and more challenging.
But there is no need to doubt or despair. There is no need to give in or give up. Jesus may have ascended into heaven and visibly disappeared, but that doesn’t mean he is gone and no longer with us. Our great King of Kings and Lord of Lords is always with us. He is reigning and ruling over all. He is watching and protecting. He is guiding. He is listening to our prayers. He is strengthening. He is preparing us for that Last Day. Because soon, our great King of Kings and Lord of Lords will come back in triumph. All enemies will be destroyed. We will be taken to heaven. And he will rule over us in perfect peace forever.
Listen carefully to the words of John this morning. Remember what Jesus has done for you, does for you now, and will do for you on the Last Day. Then take heart in your King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Take comfort in your King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And, Praise the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Posted on May 12, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Ascension, Church, Jesus, John, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Praise, Revelation, Revelation 19, Sermons, Winepress. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.