But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days. – Micah 5:2
The long awaited ruler from Bethlehem mentioned in Micah is Jesus of Nazareth. He was born in Bethlehem and the angel testified, “He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).
As you know, this Jesus was a different kind of King. But still, how could the angel say Jesus’ kingdom would never end, when we know Jesus died? If you go to Israel today, you won’t see Jesus sitting on any throne.
If we look at the Gospel of John, John does not include an account of the birth of Jesus. However, we see John the Baptist give a stunning proclamation when he sees Jesus:
Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! – John 1:29
So, what kind of King is Jesus? What kind of King has a kingdom that will never end and can take away the sin of the world? Even more, how could He take away the sin of the world?
These questions, and others like them, should direct how we think about Christmas. Of this King—crowned with thorns—and of His death, here is a survey of what the Apostle Paul says:
- “ But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” – Romans 5:8
- “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.” (1 Corinthians 15:3
- “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” – Ephesians 1:7
- For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:16-17
Jesus wore a crown of thorns purposefully. Christmas and the Cross were no accident. In Revelation, John says before the foundation of the world, there was a “Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered” (Revelation 13:8). This King died on purpose, for a purpose.
Jesus took away the sin of the world by becoming sin, and then dying, facing the God’s wrath because of sin (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is King forever because He defeated the grave. Christmas, as glorious and wonderful as it is, is a means to an end. Christmas isn’t the whole Gospel. Jesus was born so He could die. And not just die—but defeat death and intercede for His people forever.
So, what kind of King is Jesus? A Savior King. He is the Good Shepherd, who watches over His flock daily—and He will surely keep us (see John 10).
He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. – 2 Corinthians 5:15