In 1193, the English King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, was returning from leading a Crusade to the Holy Land. As he returned through Europe, Leopold V captured him in Austria. The Holy Roman Emperor demanded a ransom for Richard’s release. The price was to be 150,000 marks, equal to three tons of silver. This was an enormous ransom demand. But the people of England so loved their king they submitted to extra taxation, and many nobles donated their fortunes for Richard’s release. After many months, the money was raised and King Richard returned to England. That’s where we get the expression, “a king’s ransom.” (SermonCentral.com)
I wonder what King Richard did, that made him so popular, popular enough to have so many make large sacrifices to gain his freedom. Maybe it was because he served God so faithfully. Maybe its because he brought peace to his kingdom. Maybe his reputation as a pious hero is what won him his affection.
King Richard was indeed revered. One thing that made him great, however, was his understanding that, though he was a powerful and much loved king, he, himself, served a much greater king. In fact, the King he served was and still is the King of kings. He is the King who created and defined the power and love King Richard enjoyed.
What makes the King of kings so special is that He is unlike any other king. 1 Timothy 6:13 says, “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in His testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will display at the proper time – He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
His dominion consists of all of creation, His reign is never-ending, His bride is the church and only through Him can we receive eternal life in heaven where His presence dwells. He is faithful to His subjects, the peace He has brought us is everlasting and our affection for Him should be greater than for anything in this world or the next. “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15b).
Even with all of this power and dominion, the King of kings is a benevolent king who thinks of those He rules over as His children. His love for them is so intense that it can never be properly described and His care for them lasts forever.
Yet, even with all of this, there are those who deny His sovereignty. They choose, rather, to be subjects of other false kings who don’t have their best interests in mind. They think following weaker kings will afford them greater freedoms, but they come to find that the freedoms they hoped for only serve as dungeons of despair lacking hope and ending nowhere.
Psalm 22:28 reminds us that, “Kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations.” No other king, real or imagined, is equipped to do what only God can do. They can’t promise you true freedom and they can’t provide for you everlasting life. They can’t promise you peace or offer to completely forget your sins. Only the King of kings can provide these things. Only the King over all of creation can demonstrate this kind of love.
If you serve other kings, reject them and come to serve the King of kings. Even as the world tries to hold Him ransom, refuse to give into their demands because our King will reign regardless of their efforts to lock Him away. Today make an oath to follow God no matter where He may take you with the assurance that His love will take you to the places that will bring about your greatest joys. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for ruling over us as our benevolent King. Lead us to serve you in great and mighty ways that are worthy of Your kingdom and forgive us when we have chosen to follow lesser kings. Amen.