Just to get this out of the way, I have no idea what day of the year Jesus was born. I think it is appropriate to remember his birth, which we know happened on one of the days of the year. And, given his death and then his resurrection three days later, I think celebrating his birth three days after the longest night of the year (with apologies to Christians living in the southern hemisphere) is totally appropriate.
So today we celebrate the birth of the President’s overseer—and not only his. Vladimir Putin must answer to him, as must all the tribal chiefs in Afghanistan, the President of Iran, the Saudi King, the Japanese Prime Minister, and every other authority on earth.
I suppose some people will think the unfaithfulness, treachery, and unbelief of these rulers reflects badly on the reign of King Jesus. But God never wanted puppets. He wanted people to have responsibility. This goes back to the very beginning of history, according to the Bible:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image… (Genesis 1.26, 27a, ESV).
God made human beings to be rulers of creation. He could not fulfill that intention by being a “helicopter parent” throughout human history. The only way to allow humans to genuinely govern themselves and the world is to give them “space” in which to operate. Rather, from time to time he judges nations and rulers for how they have handled the authority He has given them.
Ultimately, mankind handed his dominion over to, and became a slave of, sin. God sent his Son to be, in his person, a new ruler—a true human being and brother to us all, but one not enslaved to sin. When Jesus grew up, he submitted to the curse of slavery to death—even though he had done nothing to deserve it—and thus conquered the tyranny of death and sin. He is the new and final king of the world. As he told his disciples after his resurrection:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV)
Reflecting the same character of God we have seen from the beginning, Jesus does not “helicopter parent.” Rulers still have some freedom to reject him and assert their own autonomy. But those assertions will be proved false in history as Jesus continues to reign. As the Apostle Paul wrote, he “must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15.25, 26; ESV). Death will be destroyed at the Last Day—when the dead are raised. Until then, all the smaller enemies will be defeated and replaced by kings and rulers who are loyal to Jesus.
Don’t believe anemic myths about Jesus as a “spiritual leader.” Today is a day we celebrate the inevitable doom of Obamacare and all the other unbelieving pretentions of autonomous human power.
Jesus the king has come.