Study Guide: The King That Changes The World

Sunday December 13, 2015 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Christ offers complete peace and security, but only when our eyes are fixed on him alone as our King.

Extended Summary:

Greg opens with a story about when he was in high school and thought he was pretty hot stuff in track & field… Until he went to a state competition and saw that while he was the faster and taller at his own school, he was in fact the smallest and slowest one among the other athletes out in the real world. We all want to be king of our world. And there are even more who are also all competing to be king of our world.

But when Jesus says “you can’t serve two masters” this is the truth. Revelation 19:16 says he is the “king of all kings, lord of all lords.” Jesus offers us complete peace and inner protection, but only when we make him and him alone the king of our world.

There are two main points that Greg makes about Jesus’ kingship:

1) His rulership is Exclusive, and Subversive.

His rulership is exclusive because you really can only serve one lord at a time. In Ancient Rome, the citizens were expected to call Caesar Lord, and in fact they also called him “lord and savior of the world.” This is not a shared title. They did not call him savior of the world and their local governor the same thing. There can be only one king. He is exclusive.

His rulership is also subversive. By calling him Lord and King, the early Christians were effectively saying that Caesar was not. His kingship subverted the authority of the state. This is why he made a point to tell his followers that they should give Caesar what is his, since they still lived in his world. But it’s also part of the reason why so many early Christians were killed, because they were submitting to a different lord.

2) Jesus’ kingship is also “odd,” but beautiful.

His kingship is the exact opposite of what worldly kingship is like. In the world, a king is usually born into lavish opulence, to a family of status, he is followed and protected by police protection, he demands obedience (sometimes demanding it by violence and threats), and wears expensive clothes and a crown of gold and jewels, and everything is expected to glorify him.

Jesus’ kingship, on the other hand, turns all of this 180 degrees on its head. He is born to a woman out of wedlock (i.e. no small amount of scandal), the ruler in the local area heard of his coming and is looking to kill him, he ends up sleeping in a manger and the ones who come to visit him are not foreign dignitaries but lowly shepherds! And the way he rules is “not to be served but to serve,” he hangs out with low-lifes, he seeks glory not for himself but give it away(John 17:22) and he is given a crown but one made of thorns, not gold. He does have a police escort but it’s not for his protection but because he is to be killed, sacrificing himself for the sake of his subjects!

This rulership model is the one we are to follow. This character of self-sacrificial love gives glory to God, and shines his glory out into the world.

Reflection Questions:

Greg sums up this sermon with three questions for us to contemplate:

  1. Can you trust that our king really is this beautiful?
  2. Will you submit to this King? Believing is not enough. Submitting to him is what he wants.
  3. Will we live for the glory of this King? It means we must crucify the part of us that wants to be King ourselves.

If we are fully committed, there should be a self-sacrificial character to everything we do. Only to the degree that we are fully committed, will we have his perfect Peace in our life.