What kind of king does the church have?

Posted at Reformation Scotland:

When earthly power is within reach, people vie for it with enthusiasm, competing sometimes ruthlessly to be able to lord it over others. In our nation although we have seen how some in power can act with integrity, genuinely in the public interest as they see it, yet there are plenty examples of those who are merely venal, using their position and privileges for manifestly self-serving reasons. This is so different from the lordship and reign of Jesus Christ in His own church. Although all power in heaven and earth belongs to Him, the way He treats us is in keeping with Him being meek and lowly in heart. David Dickson finds this principle illustrated in Christ’s last journey to Jerusalem before His death. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem was not on a splendid war horse but on an ordinary donkey. In the following extract from his writings on Matthew 21, David Dickson demonstrates that as Jesus was on His way to sacrifice Himself to gift His people with salvation, His greatness is seen in the care He shows for the little ones.

Christ is resolved to lay down His life, and now, the nearer He draws to His suffering, the more He reveals himself to be the promised Messiah, in whom the promises were accomplished. Also, lest anyone made a mistake about the nature of His kingdom, He gives evidence in His poverty that His kingdom is not of this world, borrowing an ass to ride on (Matthew 21:1–11).


Jesus has the right to use whatsoever it pleases Him to make use of, as He shows in commanding the disciples to “loose the ass and her colt, and to bring them to him” (v.1–3). Also, whatsoever impediment can occur to any of His servants in the course of their obedience to Him, He foresees it, and provides for it to be removed. “If any say ought unto you …” etc. He knows that the owner of the ass will be there, and what he will say, and foretells how He shall dispose his will, and move him to let them go without any more ado, for the hearts of kings and all are in His hand.

In this way He lets His disciples see a glimpse of His Godhead, saying, “Straightway he shall send them.” Yet although He is Lord of all, yet He wants to make use of what His friends have with their own consent, so that they may be reasonable servants, bestowing with good will what He calls for.

Also, He is not ashamed both to profess Himself Lord and Master, and yet to be so far emptied as to have need of the service of an ass. “Say,” saith he, “the Lord hath need of them.”


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