O Worship the King

The King of the Jews*

On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.         Revelation 19:16

“Where is he that is born the king of the Jews?” How ironic that the first people to acknowledge Jesus’ royalty were a travel-weary group of Gentile pilgrims who had seen a dazzling star in the heavens.

When the Magi arrived at the lowly home of Mary and Joseph, the whole village must have gawked at the procession.

I can almost see the crowd pressing around the house, straining to see what the travelers were doing. The visit must have been the prevailing topic at the village well and in the marketplace: Who were these wealthy visitors and why had the come to visit Joseph, the carpenter?

As the years passed, how often did Mary and Joseph reflect on the Magi’s visit and the angel’s prophecy: “the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end (Luke 1:32-33)? How often did they open the ornate containers of gold, frankincense, and myrrh—regal gifts for a royal child?

And decades later, what did Mary think when she saw the inscription Pilate posted above her bruised and bleeding son: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews?

What contrast could be more dramatic than the one between the Magi’s visit and the scene at the cross? Yet both images convey the truth of Jesus’ true identity as “The King of the Jews.”

When we sing “O Worship the King,” we can reflect on both portraits: the adoration of the Magi and the ridicule at the Cross. We can also honor Jesus’ present position at the right hand of God the Father. He is now “pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise” because He was willing to become both the newborn king and the redeeming king, our “Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.”


What is Jesus’ response when Nathanael declares, “You are the King of Israel” in John 1:49? Why does Jesus react that way?

Three times in Matthew 27, Jesus is called “the king.” Why do you think he responds only to Pilate’s question?

Jesus tells two parables about kings in Matthew 22:1-11 and Matthew 25:31-46. What is his point in each of these parables?

To read the lyrics of “O Worship the King,” go to http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/w/owtking.htm

Denise K. Loock

*Note: This devotion appears in a slightly different form in Open Your Hymnal: Devotions That Harmonize Scripture With Song. Order a copy at http://tinyurl.com/ctfxtko

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