Track 1: The Lord Is Our Righteousness
Today we celebrate “Christ the King” Sunday. Jesus is King of King, and Lord of Lords. But his earthly ministry had very humble beginnings. That was necessary. The Hebrew people were not ready for his message.
John the Baptist needed to be the forerunner of Christ, to prepare them to hear the message of the Gospel, and the coming New Covenant. Zechariah prophesied over the infant John:
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1: 76-79)
John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. Although we are reading about him in the New Testament, the New Covenant had not been established at this point. (That would take the cross).
Jeremiah prophesied that this New Covenant was coming:
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
What was new about this covenant? God would do what humankind was unable to do, fulfill the righteous requirements of the old one. Jesus, the King of Kings, was also the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of this world. Again, Zechariah prophesied
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life. (Luke 1: 68-75)
Do we worship Jesus as King? He is not our King; he is not our Lord, he is not our Savior, unless we honor him as the Lamb. The Apostle wrote:
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:11-14)
Has Jesus rescued us from the powers of darkness. He has if we have acknowledged our sin and laid it before the cross. We have no righteousness, except by faith in the saving act of Jesus. As prophesied through Jeremiah: The LORD is our righteousness.