Christ Is King

Josh Buice


During any given week, for a Christian to repeat or hear the phrase “Christ is King” would not be controversial at all. In fact, on April 27, 2023 I posted “Christ is King.” Back in 2016, I wrote an article titled, “Christ is King (not king) where I provided a summary from my sermon from Mark 11:1-11.

Christians openly declare Jesus as the Messiah—the Christ of God, so within the Christian community the phrase is not controversial. So, why is the phrase trending on social media this week? The reason the phrase is trending is not because of Passion week and the upcoming celebration of Resurrection Sunday. There is a backstory that must be unpacked regarding the usage of the phrase, “Christ is King.”

The Controversy Surrounding the Phrase “Christ is King”

To understand the full backstory, we must trace this controversy back to the events that transpired on January 6, 2021 at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. In an article titled, “How the Capitol Attacks Helped Spread Christian Nationalism in the Extreme Right” published on January 26, 2022, Jack Jenkins observes:

When supporters of former President Donald Trump rallied near the White House on Jan. 6 of last year, a boisterous pocket of young men waving “America First” flags broke into a chant: “Christ is King!” It was one of the first indications that Christian nationalism would be a theme of the Capitol attack later that day, where insurrectionists prayed and waved banners that read “Proud American Christian.”

Eleven months later in December of 2022, an article titled “Ye’s Trump dinner is a high point for Catholic nationalists’ influence campaign” published on the Religion News Service site reported the following:

During a livestream in June, Fuentes advocated for “Catholic Taliban rule in America,” explaining that such a regime would ban same-sex marriage and contraception. His followers, known as Groypers, were a consistent presence at anti-vaccine and anti-abortion rallies in 2021, often holding aloft crucifixes and chanting “Christ is king!”

There is an ongoing push within the public sphere to open the door to a form of Roman Catholic integralism and these groups are happy to use Jesus Christ to accomplish their end goal. Within this conversation, we must be able to distinguish between Fuentes’ use of  “Christ is King” and a genuine Christian who is pointing to the absolute rule of King Jesus.

In recent days, the phrase “Christ is King” has been consistently trending on X due in part to the public dust up between Candace Owens and the Daily Wire. While it began last November as Candace Owens openly criticized Ben Shapiro by posting Matthew 5:9 from the Sermon on the Mount, and then she added another post that said, “Christ is King.”

Both Owens and Shaprio have a large following, so when they tangle on social media, it can create quite a stir which can push a phrase like “Christ is King” to trend. In this boiling conversation, the charge of antisemitism is thrown into the mix and things are raised to another level of controversy.

The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan accused Candace Owens of using Scripture as a means of promoting antisemitism. Needless to say, Shapiro is a Jew and many people are pointing to the phrase “Christ is King” as an anti-Jewish dog whistle because the Jews refuse to bow to Jesus as their true Messiah.

While it is true that many people are willing to use Christ for various reasons, we must not allow a depraved culture to hijack the phrase “Christ is King.” Words have meaning and it’s important to understand that when we employ language.

For instance, the term woke was birthed out of the Black Nationalist movement and has little redeeming value. The title “Christian Nationalism” was plagued from the beginning with all sorts of politically charged meanings from a variety of different figures—including some who do not worship the true Jesus and want to destroy United States of America. However, the phrase “Christ is King” was founded upon a sure foundation of the gospel and we must not allow bad actors to hijack it for their own use as a pejorative or a political Trojan Horse.

Christ Is King

When earthly kings, queens, and dignitaries die the people are often gripped with anxiety and despair because they feel threatened and vulnerable without their leader. This was certainly the case during the days following King Uzziah’s death. When news spread that the king had died, the people were immediately struck with fear. It was precisely at this moment that God pulled back the veil and allowed the Prophet Isaiah to see a much greater King on a much higher throne. The prophet Isaiah recorded the scene as follows:

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”1Isaiah 6:1-3 — ESV

Uzziah was one of the greatest kings of Israel’s history. He ascended to the throne at age 16 and reigned for 52 years as the longest king of Israel’s history. During his early days, he was a faithful and innovative leader. He led with great skill and as a result there was great expanse and growth. Although he was faithful in the beginning, in his later years he failed to persevere. He failed to maintain his boundary as king and stepped across the priestly line and engaged in the burning of incense upon the altar of God which was a practice reserved for the priests. God judged Uzziah and he was smitten with leprosy.

Uzziah’s disobedience resulted in the judgment of God upon his life. The end of his life was an unfortunate ending to a great life of faithfulness (2 Ch 26:21-23). When Uzziah died, Isaiah was given the view of an enthroned, majestic, powerful, and ruling King. This is none other than the preincarnate enthroned Christ. The depiction of Christ on his majestic throne is breathtaking—yet at the same time it should bring great comfort to believers who are prone to worry and fear in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation.

As the eternal King who predates Abraham, we must likewise remember that Jesus’ throne transcends above every earthly ruler and his Kingdom will have no end (Heb 1:8; Luke 1:33). While the world continues to play games and scoffs at the rule of Christ, we are likewise reminded of the sobering words found in the second Psalm that appears in the Bible:

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:12).

In Jesus’ earthly ministry, he made the claim to be God. Such a claim was ground shaking for the religious leaders of the Jews. Jesus made many claims to deity such as, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) and “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). At one point, Jesus prayed to God in his High Priestly prayer saying, “Glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5). No mere prophet or common rabbi would dare to utter such bold statements as Jesus.

Jesus is more than a carpenter, more than a common rabbi, and more than a gifted teacher. Jesus is the Prophet greater than Moses, the Priest greater than Melchizedek, and the King greater than David.

At the beginning of this final week leading up to his death, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a lowly colt rather than a high and mighty horse. People praised him as he entered the city of Jerusalem.

And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”2 Mark 11:9-10 — ESV

 Yet, by the end of the week, the leaders of the Jewish Sanhedrin would have Jesus falsely accused of blasphemy, tried for heresy, and led to the hill of death known as Golgotha where he would be crucified publicly. However, that would not be the end of the story. Jesus was victoriously raised from the dead on the third day proving that He is indeed the King of the Jews—more than that, he is King of kings and Lord of lords. 

After Jesus’ earthly ministry was complete and he ascended to the portals of glory and was seated on heaven’s throne, the apostles continued to preach the gospel and instruct the early church regarding the person and work of Christ. Paul’s theology clearly points to the reality that Jesus is God. In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul penned these glowing words about his Savior:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth     and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:9-11).

In that letter, Paul is pulling from Isaiah 45:22-25 where Yahweh states that every knee would bow before him. In other words, Paul is drawing a straight line from the words of the Prophet Isaiah about Yahweh to Jesus of Nazareth. The Christology of the apostles clearly points to the fact that Jesus is God, which reinforces the fact that he is the eternal King whose throne will have no end.

Christ is King!

In Psalm 102:25-27, we find the work of creation attributed to Yahweh as the psalmist writes, “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.” However, when the writer to the Hebrews pens his letter, he points to the transcendence of Jesus above all things and clearly identifies him as God. He writes the following in the first chapter of his letter:

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.” But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” And to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

If you look closely at the text in Hebrews 1:10-12, you will see a direct quotation from Psalm 102 which is undoubtedly referring to Yahweh. Once more, the author is making another bold claim regarding Jesus’ deity. This truth should shape how we worship, how we pray, and how we evangelize.

Jesus is more than a carpenter, more than a common rabbi, and more than a gifted teacher. Jesus is the Prophet greater than Moses, the Priest greater than Melchizedek, and the King greater than David. We must not allow a secular Christ hating culture to muzzle the truth of Jesus Christ. Praise be to the King who rules in righteousness and with all authority.

Jesus is King.

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1 Isaiah 6:1-3 — ESV
2 Mark 11:9-10 — ESV
Author Christ-Is-King

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.