Jesus Christ . . . is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
King Jesus Lives
In ancient times, kings would often go into battle with their armies. And the king was one of the main targets for the opposing army. If they could kill the king, they could leave his army feeling demoralized and defeated.
Today’s Bible verse calls Jesus “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” To earn that title, you might assume that he never lost a single battle. Your assumption is correct. You might also assume that he never died in battle. But that is not true. Let me explain.
Jesus came to battle against the devil, who led the world into sin and disobedience. Jesus came to overcome death itself and strip it of its power. But to do that, he had to die. Death’s power is in its rightful claim on those who are guilty of sin. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death.” The only way for death to lose its power was for someone to receive those wages. And that’s what Jesus came to do.
Jesus did battle with the devil by resisting every temptation the devil threw at him. He was perfect in every way. But then he willingly accepted the guilt for our failed battles against temptation. And he received the punishment of death and hell that we deserved for that guilt.
In the days before Jesus died, the devil was unleashing his entire arsenal. He thought that if he could turn Jesus’ friends and enemies against him and get them to kill him, Jesus would be defeated. But just the opposite happened. Jesus’ death was all part of God’s plan. By dying in our place, he destroyed death’s power over us. He proved that by being “the firstborn from the dead.” He rose from the dead to show that our sins were forgiven, and death had lost its power over us.
And so, Jesus not only rose from the dead himself, but he is “the firstborn from the dead.” When Jesus returns on the Last Day, all who have died trusting in Jesus’ victory over sin and death will be raised to live forever with him.
Jesus, my King, thank you for defeating death for me so that I will live forever with you. Amen.