TODAY’S READING: 2 KINGS 24-25
We are reminded over and over in scripture and by others that Jesus always obeyed the Father. He only did what he saw the Father doing and he only said what the Father said. He was perfect. But, Jesus also rebelled.
Wait a minute.
Jesus obeyed the Father perfectly and he rebelled?
How can both be true?
Jehoiakim can shed light on Jesus rebelled.
His reign began when he was 25 years old.
2 Kings 24:1 says, “In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against.”
2 Kings 23:37 says that Jehoiakim “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done.” Just a few verses earlier we are told the evil that Jehoiakim did.
Pharaoh Neco made Jehoiakim king and laid a tribute on Judah. Jehoiakim taxed the people of Judah to give their gold and silver to Pharaoh Neco. He didn’t pay the tribute himself.
So, Nebuchadnezzar came up, likely through the conquest of Pharaoh Neco, and Jehoiakim became Nebuchadnezzar’s servant for three years. Given the history of kings, I would guess that Nebuchadnezzar laid a tribute on Jehoiakim for those three years. But, at the end of three years, Jehoiakim turned and rebelled.
The Hebrew word for turned here is sub. While we often think of turning toward God in repentance, and this word can be mean that, sub can also mean turning away from something. Interesting.
The Hebrew word for rebelled here is marad. It means to rebel or rise up in revolt. Also interesting.
If Jesus obeyed God perfectly, then how did he rebel?
Just like Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, who was the king of the world at the time. So, Nebuchadnezzar was a picture of Satan as the ruler of the world system.
Jesus constantly turned and rebelled against Satan and the system of this world. Kings were expected to fight, conquer, kill, and destroy their enemies. But, Jesus always rejected the idea of being that type of king.
John 6:14-15 says, “When the people saw the sign that he had done [feeding five thousand with five barley loaves and two fish], they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’ Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”
The people wanted to make Jesus a king. Jesus knew they wanted to make him a king like every other king of this world. They wanted him to be a king that fight the Roman empire, retake the land, and restore the kingdom of Israel. But, Jesus withdrew when he sensed the people desired this. In other words, Jesus turned away from being like the kings of this world.
Pilate asked Jesus if he was king of the Jews. Eventually, Jesus responded, in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from this world.”
Then Pilate asked, “So you are a king?”
And, Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth.”
Pilate assumed that if Jesus were a king then he would be fighting to establish his kingdom. But, Jesus wasn’t interested in being a king like the other kings of this world. Jesus rebelled against the idea of establishing his kingdom by violence. Jesus rebelled against the system and the god, Satan, of this world.
Speaking of Satan and the kingdoms of this world, Matthew 4:8 says, “Again, the devil took him up to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.” Satan then offered all the kingdoms of this world to Jesus. Notice that Satan’s way was to take Jesus up to a very high mountain. Did you notice that Nebuchadnezzar “came up” to Judah?
But, instead of going up, Jesus’ way was to go down. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus went down. He came to serve. He became a servant. Just like Jehoiakim became a servant. And, how long did Jehoiakim become a servant? Three years. Jesus’ ministry, his service, lasted three full years and he was crucified in the fourth year.
Instead of ruling, Jesus became a servant. He rebelled from the expectations of the world and against the way Satan’s kingdom operated.
Jehoiakim’s reign began when he was 25 years old. The number 25 is five times five, which symbolizes grace upon grace. John 1:16 says, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
How did we receive grace upon grace?
When Jesus’ kingdom began. But, how did his kingdom begin?
Philippians 2:4-8 says, “Christ Jesus, who, thought he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Like Jehoiakim, Jesus became a servant. Jesus humbled himself so much as a servant that he became obedient to die on the cross. Jesus’ first grace was that he died for us.
But, Jesus did more than die for us. As we were murdering him on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) In addition to dying for us, Jesus forgave us for killing him. Jesus’ second grace was to forgive us.
Jesus died and forgave. From his fullness, the fullness of the Godhead, we received grace upon grace.
We are to be like Jesus. Yes, we are to obey the Father in all things. We are to be holy as he his holy, to love as he loves.
But, we also are to be like Jesus in how he rebelled against Satan and the kingdoms of this world. We too are to pick up our crosses and lay down our lives. Galatians 6:14 says, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Further, 1 John 2:16 says, “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.” And, James 4:4 says, “Do you now know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
There is nothing in the world. That means there is nothing in its ruler, Satan, for us. And, that means there is nothing in its kingdoms, every nation and every government of the world, for us.
We are to rebel against the Satan and the world. But, we are to do it like Jesus. We rebel by becoming servants to God, dying, and forgiving.