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When Jesus walked the earth, He gave us the example of what it meant to be a leader who had no positional, earthly authority at all but wielded gargantuan spiritual authority.

He was God with us, after all, Immanuel. Yahweh in the flesh.

Not just an example. He is The Example.

He wanted us to understand what He was doing in the emptying and diminishing of Himself. He took the form of a servant. This was God Himself. If He, the Lord God Almighty, was willing to do this, we surely should do the same.

The world does not do this—cannot do this. It is another kingdom altogether.

The ultimate lowering? The Creator reduced to the status of criminal, one who is cursed, who allowed Himself to be crucified out of His love for people and to glorify His Father.

He was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world.

However, things have changed.

Jesus is now king. He is not just a king; He is The King. The King over all kings and all kingdoms that have existed and ever will exist. Jesus never called Himself a king in His ministry, but He did seem to confirm this truth when He stood before Pilate (John 18:37).

Yes. He is The King who is still the Lamb, but His sacrifice is over, finished. Look at these verses:

“Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’” (Revelation 6:15–17).1

A wrathful lamb. We Christians must attempt to unify those truths which seem so incompatible.

“He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:15b–16).

This is not the image from the 1960’s of a fair-haired Jesus gently knocking on a door in the garden.

No. He is furious.

This judgment was prophesied by Isaiah: “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come” (Isaiah 63:3–4).

So, let me say without hesitation: We do not want to be on the wrong side of this.

We may think it unfair. We may think Him cruel. We may shout and rage at God. Those who do so, and we Christians, to be honest, do not understand the depths of the degradation of our sinfulness, how abhorrent it is to God. We have trouble grasping how holy His holiness is. We do not understand because we have not fully comprehended how stunning it is that the Lord God Almighty lowered Himself to be punished as a filthy sinner.

But we will understand it because these days are coming.

“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28–29).

We must stay awake. We know neither the day nor the hour.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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