Monday, March 27, 2006

Kings of the World

In the movie Titanic, there is a scene in which the character Jack Dawson (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) leans forward on the railing at the bow of the boat and shouts into the wind, “I’m the king of the world.” It is a moment of elation.

Jack did not realize how right he was. He was not being literal, of course, but merely expressing the sense that things seemed to be going very well for him at the time (even though we know that things ended very badly for both the ship and for Jack Dawson).

Still, I am struck by his words, and I want to consider them very literally, because I believe that is what the Bible teaches us: We are kings of the world. Go back to the creation account in Genesis 1, where God created man.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, ad over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)
Notice the divine mandate: Have dominion. It encompasses, not only every living thing, but the earth itself. That is how Psalm 8 understands it:
What is man that you are mindful of him,
And the son of man that you visit him? …
You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands;
You have put all thing under his feet.
(Psalm 8:4, 6)
To have dominion means to rule and reign. The dom in the word “kingdom” is short for the word “dominion” or “domain.” The kingdom is the dominion or domain of the king; it is that over which the king has authority to rule and reign.

Man was created to rule and reign over the earth. That is our domain and our destiny. We were created to be the kings of the world (notice that this mandate was addressed to women, too). Jack Dawson or (rather, the writer who put that line in Jack’s mouth) did not realize how right he was.

God has never revoked the divine mandate, even though Adam and Eve submitted themselves to the wiles of the devil and fell into sin. Instead, He had a plan for redemption, which He Himself would fulfill in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was fully divine, therefore, capable of redeeming all the world; He was also fully human, therefore, qualified to represent all the world before the Father.

Jesus came and exercised His kingship in His humanity, proclaiming the kingdom of God and demonstrating its power by miracles of healing and deliverance. Then, by His death on the cross and His resurrection three days later, He destroyed all the works of the devil and restored us to the royal role God originally intended for us.

C. S. Lewis depicted this wonderfully, in allegorical fashion, in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Book 1 in the Chronicles of Narnia series). After the scene of redemption, there is the scene of coronation, where the “Sons of Adam” and the “Daughters of Eve” are restored tother role as the kings and queens of Narnia.

The truth we need to understand is that all of creation is now waiting for us to take up the divine mandate and assume our royal identity.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
Creation longs for the revealing of the sons of God — the kings of the world.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been restored as a king of the world. Have you stepped up into the place of dominion and discovered your royal identity in Him?

(See also Having Dominion.)