All too often the gospel that is shared is not the complete gospel in that it fails to take into account the full story found in scripture. A major issue in this is the bypassing of much of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in the story of Israel. It is asserted that humankind was created good, in God’s image, humankind sinned, Jesus came to pay the penalty for sins, and all who believe and put their trust in him are saved. The end. Not that the Holy Spirit can’t use that to bring a person into God’s salvation. But the point of the good news and of salvation is largely missed.
Jesus as Messiah would fulfill the role of prophet, priest and king. It is noted that Joseph, Jesus legal father was in the lineage of David. Jesus does not back down from the assertion that he is a king, before Pilate, but only that his kingdom is not of this world, but comes from another place, while certainly for this world.
Jesus as Lord is to be king over the whole earth, but his rule starts over God’s people. And that rule extends beyond God’s people through conversion, never at the point of a gun, or the tip of a sword, but by the way of the cross. “Jesus and him crucified” is the message people need to hear. This king reigns on a cross and by way of a cross.
And so we read in Zephaniah:
Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
“I will remove from you
all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
which is a burden and reproach for you.
At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.
God was with Israel in the person of his Son, Jesus. The reign is one that brings to fulfillment Israel’s role and calling in the world to be blessed to be a blessing. Israel is marked out as the people of God, although how this is to unfold is seen when Jesus arrives, and the aftermath, or result of that.
Therefore to understand Jesus’ fulfillment of prophecy, we need to study more than just isolated predictions here and there, however many they may be. We need the entire story as told in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament of God’s calling to Israel, Israel’s failure as well as God’s work through them. And then we are ready to understand what Jesus’ kingship and kingdom is all about. But not until then.
It is in terms of blessing, a blessing received and then given. But always centered in, or coming our from this kingdom, and precisely from the King himself, Jesus. And so we remember and celebrate the coming of King Jesus. Reigning humbly as seen in his birth, life and death. Now ascended in the place of supreme power at the right hand of the Father, the Holy Spirit having been poured out, as a result. And to come again in his reappearing as the Lamb that was slain and the Lion of the tribe of Judah to judge and to save. As we continue to be a witness of all of this to the world.
(See Scot McKnight, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited)