In Western Christianity, the message of Jesus has often been condensed to this: “Jesus died for my sins so that I can go to heaven.” It is surprising to learn, however, that this was not the primary message of the early disciples as recorded in the book of Acts. In Acts 17:7, for example, Paul and Silas were criticized for saying that “Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!” The radical message of the early Christians was that there is a new King of the world and his name is Jesus. The message was that this King and his Kingdom is entirely different than any other king or kingdom that the world has ever known. This message was threatening to the kingdoms and powers of the world and the early Christians were persecuted. With the conversion of Constantine, however, the message that “Jesus is King” was reduced and Christ now became the chaplain of the state rather than King. Even to our modern day, Jesus is not really viewed as King of this world other than in the diminished sense that he is “king in my heart”. As Brian Zahnd has said, “We run the world the way we want to – through force and coercion. Jesus has been reduced to the position of secretary of after-life affairs.”
It’s time to reclaim the message that Jesus is King of the world today! Equally important, it’s time that we begin to work together to establish his Kingdom on this earth – a Kingdom that is based on “power-under”, service, compassion, peace-making and forgiveness.