Who is This King of Glory?


Who is this King of glory?
  The LORD of hosts,
 he is the King of glory! (Psalm 24:8-10)

The Psalmist asks a seemingly simple question, and how we answer speaks volumes about our faith.

Every person who calls himself a Christian answers the question, but is every answer valid?  We all think we know who the King of Glory is. Yet in our age of apostasy and false prophets, how we identify the King of Glory and define His role in our lives and in human history divides the sheep, those who recognize and hear the voice of the Shepherd, from the goats.

Who is this King of Glory? To answer this question, let’s make it less formal and more personal. Let’s put it this way:

 The King of Glory:  Do you know Him?

Of course we know Him, many will answer. After all, I’ve gone to church my whole life. I was baptized when I was a child. I prayed the sinners’ prayer and walked down the aisle long ago. Today, I am quite active in my church.  I go to Sunday school. I tithe. I bring cookies for the sick. All in all, I certainly know the King of Glory! I know Him through church. I know Him through my religiosity.

The King of Glory: Do you know Him?

Of course I know Him. It’s Jesus of Nazareth. I’ve studied all about Him. He was Jewish and spoke Aramaic. The Old Testament prophets called Him “the Messiah” and wrote about His coming. He lived some 2,000 years ago and for three years led a ministry declaring the Kingdom of God and calling all to repentance.  He developed a band of followers and performed miracles and drew the ire of the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities who ruled Judea. They conspired to get rid of him and had him unjustly put on trial and executed by crucifixion. He rose on the third day and told his followers to take His message of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. His followers thus started the church and wrote His story down in a book called the Bible. Indeed I know Him, this King of Glory. I have read all about Him. He is present in history.

The King of Glory: Do you know Him?

Of course I know Him. His message is recounted in the Bible. His sayings and teachings are collected there and I know many of these scripture verses by heart.  Jesus was a great teacher and I have studied what He taught in classes and books and on the internet.  I know Him because I can explain how Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was a propitiation for our sins, how we are justified, and made right before God by His paying our fine. I understand how we must be born again or “regenerated”, made a new creation by the Holy Spirit, how we are made one with Christ, and empowered by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. How we are called and enabled to become sanctified, or made holy in the sight of God. I can tell you the Biblical teaching on Jesus’ Second Coming, how He will come not as in His first coming, to save, but to judge the lost. Certainly I know the King of Glory. I have lots of information about His message. I know Him through my intellect.

We say we know Him through our religion. We say we know Him through history. We say we know Him through our intellect. But can we truly know Him in any of those ways? The verb “to know” has two meanings. On the one hand it is used in relation to knowing information, or a set of facts. We can “know” that George Washington was the first president. Similarly we can know that Jesus was the Messiah. But we also use “to know” in the sense of having a relationship. Do you know Will Stevens? That question implies something very different from the parallel construct: Do you know George Washington? We also use “to know” in the sense of having a personal relationship, a direct encounter with someone. “Do you know Will Stevens” means: have you met him, do you know something of him, have you interacted with him, is he your friend, and do you love him?

When we ask “Do you know the King of Glory,” we are not just asking if we know Jesus like we know George Washington. Certainly most of us can say we know something about Jesus. We can know him through our study of history, or through our intellectual understanding of what His message was. But do we know him personally? Have we had a direct encounter with Him? Is he our friend? Do we love Him? Is our relationship with Him continuous, growing, developing, deepening, as a living personal relationship? We may think we know Him because we have made a cursory pass at meeting and knowing Him. Making a profession of faith with the lips, walking down the aisle at an altar call, being baptized—these all may be evidence of a relationship, but a ceremonial act, like shaking hands with someone does not necessarily imply the forging of an intimate relationship. I shook hands and had breakfast with Penn State football coach Joe Paterno once. Does that mean I know him? Hardly.

Do you know the King of Glory?

Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life”(John 14:6). To know Him means to know that we have a direct active, personal relationship with Him. We walk along His way, and by that we mean we are obedient to His Word. Of course, a relationship has two sides and as we walk along His way, He walks beside us—every single step. We know Him through His Truth. He revealed the Truth to us and continues to reveal it to us in His Word, the Scriptures.  His truth is that we are saved by faith and repentance –believing in Him, Jesus, as the Son of God, crucified and raised for us, and as Lord, for whom we repent and turn from our sinful lives. He is life to us, for we are dead to ourselves, and we live as a new creation through Jesus. We are not alone. Our life in Christ begins here and now and stretches into all eternity.

Do you know the King of Glory?

Our relationship with Jesus, contrary to the name it and claim it preaching one hears these days, is bilateral. We ask Jesus to be our Advocate and intercede with the Father for us. At the same time, Jesus places demands on us:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11:29-30)

 Jesus demands that we obey Him.

“If you love me, you will follow my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

 The commandments that Jesus has laid out for us are many; nine of the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law are reiterated by the Messiah. Jesus summed up the Law for us when he said:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

If we know the King of Glory only in the sense of our religious works, we do not truly know  Him. If we only know Him as the Jesus of history, we do not truly know Him. If we know Him only in our head as a set of encyclopedic facts, we do not truly know Him. We only know Him when we acknowledge Him as an intimate friend. We only know Him when we accept Him as our personal Savior. We only know Him when we rely on Him as our personal Advocate in heaven before God the Father. We only know Him when we acknowledge Him as LORD and Master and obey His commandments. In obedience, we can count on His living presence as He walks beside us every day, tied to the same light yoke He offered us at salvation. It is when we listen to His voice and demonstrate our faith through repentance and obedience that we can be sure we have a personal relationship with a living Jesus. Then we can say we truly know Him, our King of Glory.

Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment