Is Jesus King?



Jesus is no longer king over Atlanta.  Y’all didn’t know this?  Oh it’s true.  Two weeks ago in the news, Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, here in Atlanta, was crowned king by Jewish leaders as well as his church body.  

As a matter of fact, they held a special service last week in which they brought out a Jewish Holocaust scroll, stood Bishop Long in the middle of the stage, wrapped the scroll around his head, screamed in the microphone that he was being cocooned in the word of God protecting him from attacks coming from all sides all the while preparing himself to emerge as king.  Then they opened the scrolls and out walked Bishop Long with his arms opened and the church roaring with ovation.  He’s there king. 

And it gets worse.  They proceed to bring out a throne, set it on the stage, invite Bishop Long to sit in his rightful place as a king.  They hand him the scroll only to pick him up and march him around the sanctuary!  They have their king.  They have their leader.  They have their symbol for what is right and pure and holy and just.

This really happened.  You can YouTube it right now. 

And honestly, this horrifies me.  It horrifies me to know that God’s ordained leaders of this world can sit in closed door meetings and think this stuff up.  It concerns me that the human condition can get so murky that we think lifting up and praising one individual, claiming him as our king is a good idea.  It horrifies me that passages in scripture like, “Do not have any other gods before me” or “Don’t swear to false idols” or perhaps how the entire story of Israel wanting a king ends with exile and desolation never dawns on anybody at New Birth as they coordinate this service.  It horrifies me that a Christian church of nine thousand could champion this behavior.  It horrifies me that there are so many people out there not questioning this behavior, not disillusioned by this stunt; it horrifies me that not enough people are wrestling to make sense of this nonsense.  Because we only have one religious leader who is king – and it isn’t King Bishop Long.

But I don’t know why this horrifies me as much as it does.  Christians everywhere find demi-gods to replace the one true God and we’ve been doing it for years.  We all have things in our lives that we hold up as our saviors.

Think of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.  God was in their midst and they couldn't handle it. 

Think of the Tower of Babel and how the people desired to make a name for themselves instead of worshipping God. 

Think of Exodus when God came to tabernacle in the midst of Israel.  Even with God’s presence hovering over them in the tent at Sinai, there was still false idols and golden calves dreamed up and saluted. 

In all these cases, God promises Israel to be their king, but she says “No” and demand another one.  So God provides judges, prophets and even kings, yet Israel still turns from God, listens to her own selfish desires, and finds herself lost and lonely.

The Old Testament is jam-packed with stories of God showing up, bursting onto the scene, embodying holiness and kingship, but then Israel dismissing or killing it.  And I believe we still do this today.  God fills the space with God’s love yet we reject it.  

And we see this rhythm no clearer than with the life and ministry and Jesus Christ.  A man who embodied all who God was, who burst on the scene proclaiming to be our King – and we sent him to his grave.  He didn't last three years. 

So it only makes sense that we’d continue to do it today.  I just hope New Birth doesn't sacrifice Bishop Long when he fails to live up to the standards in which they're asking of him.  
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