Tue, Apr 16 2013 10:42
Most people who know me are aware that I am a J. R. Tolkien fan. I absolutely love the Hobbit, and the trilogy, the Lord of the Rings. One of the main characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a man named Strider. He is a Ranger from the north, tall, lanky, quiet but with a definite authority about him. He is fearless, but not a bully. The Hobbits call him Strider because of his long legs. When he enters the story, no one is really impressed with him. He seems a bit suspicious, a bit strange, but he knows a lot about what is going on in the world, and he seems much older than he is.
Many people treat him with disrespect and disdain, but the longer this Strider is around the more you become impressed with him. Slowly throughout the books you learn that this weather beaten Ranger, is actually Aragorn, the rightful heir to the Kingdom of Gondor. At the end of the book, He comes to Gondor to claim his rightful kingdom, but the Steward of Gondor, the man who was reigning until the rightful king should return did not want to believe that Aragorn was that man. He wanted to hold on to his power, he didn’t think Aragorn was worthy of the position. So there is a conflict of Kingdoms, the Kingdom of the Stewards who had been entrusted with leading the kingdom in the absence of the King, and the rightful King who returns to receive His Kingdom. It’s a great picture of Jesus coming into our world, and I’m not sure that Tolkien, a Christian, didn’t have that in mind.
When Jesus returned to the world He had made, He had the same kind of problem. He came off as poor, unlearned, without any social standing and yet He was the rightful King come to inaugurate a new Kingdom. But the people in power, the religious leaders who considered themselves the stewards of the Kingdom didn’t welcome Him. His authority challenged theirs, His claims angered them. And we see that the story of Jesus is the story of Kingdoms in Conflict. A new Kingdom is being inaugurated by Jesus, but this new Kingdom challenges the old one, resulting in constant conflict.
But that's not the end of the story--because we experience the same things in our lives. Each one of us are our own kingdoms, and we reign over them, we’re the Kings and Queens of our little fiefdoms. And then along comes Jesus claiming that He is King over us, and we balk, we hesitate, or we strike back in anger. Our kingdoms are also in conflict.
Aragorn wins his kingdom back, and so will our Lord. For us, the question we need to ask is: does Jesus have to win His kingdom back from me, or will I gladly hand it over? Am I being a good steward of the "Kingdom of Dan?" Will I give Him the keys to my kingdom? Will I truly allow Him to rule over my kingdom, or try to keep part of it back? We enter His peace when we surrender, we enter His joy when we give up what we cannot rule effectively anyway.