Friday, April 29, 2011

Why the Fascination with Royalty?

We’re Americans. We shed the yoke of royal rule some two-hundred-thirty-five years ago for the love of freedom. Others around the world followed suit and today democracy is the dominant political philosophy in the world. And yet millions from every corner of the globe tuned in to witness a royal wedding and the question I’ve been asking myself this morning is why? Given the history of the world in the last several hundred years, why the fascination with royalty? 

Well, at one level the answer is pretty simple: we love pomp and circumstance and few of us have access to that kind of thing. By witnessing the regalia that belongs to others we somehow participate in it ourselves. This is the same reason we love to watch TV shows and movies. In so doing we participate in ways of life that are beyond our reach.

But I think there’s more than this going on here. In our heart of hearts, most of us want to look up to and serve a good king. We long for leadership and we long for a leader who is good, just, honest, morally upright, self-sacrificing, and the like. We will forgive the indiscretions of public figures but in our hearts we long for more.

And the ultimate reason we long for more is that we are creatures who have been hand-crafted by a Creator who is indeed good, just, honest, morally upright, self-sacrificing, holy, mighty, wise glorious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, faithful, and the like. In other words, he is imminently admirable and we have been created to worship him and be in fellowship with him.

The problem is that along with this impulse, we have another in our hearts, namely, we want to be a king or queen unto ourselves. We want to hold royalty at a distance and live life just the way we want to live life. The desire to be a god unto ourselves is the heart of sin and it causes very real and deep problems in our relationship with the one true God.

But since God is in fact so mighty and merciful, he chose to address this problem himself. Jesus Christ, who is King of all kings and Lord of all lords, humbled himself and became a human being, and being found in the form of a man lived his life as a servant. Imagine that: the Lord of the universe living as a servant. And as a servant, he lived a life of obedience all the way to death on a cross, a death he died to pay the penalty for our rebellion against God.

Now, everyone who believes in him enters into eternal life which Jesus defined as knowing and loving God (John 17:3). In other words, to have life is to be in a vital, loving relationship with the God who created us, and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus paves the way for that kind of relationship to become real in our lives. There is in fact no other way to have peace with God because Jesus is God who took on flesh to rescue us from the consequences of our sin.

And the eternal hope held out for us in the Bible is that one day he will reign in fact as King of kings and Lord of lords, that every knee will bow before him and every tongue confess that he is the one true Royal to the glory of God the Father.One day we will get the King we've all been longing for and he will reign forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.

So it turns out that this worldwide impulse to behold royalty goes pretty deep into the human heart and will ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. For now I pray that we would bow our lives before Jesus and live in the light of his glory for he alone is worthy of the same.

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