Which Throne? Which King?

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

About the time Jesus was born in a Bethlehem stable, Tiberius, the future Roman Emperor, was going into retirement on the island of Rhodes.

He was in line for leadership because his mother married Octavian (later “Caesar Augustus”). Considered unlikely to gain power, he ranked behind Agrippa (husband of Augustus’ daughter, Julia) and Augustus’ grandsons.

Theoretically he had the best of everything on Rhodes, but it was not a happy time. Never popular, he struggled with a sense of inferiority. Yet after Agrippa and Augustus’ grandsons died, Augustus reluctantly recognized him as his successor. In 4 AD, Augustus formally adopted him, declaring, “This I do for reasons of state.”

Although Tiberius had been a reluctant choice, he was the man who became Emperor after Augustus’ death (reigning from 14-37 AD). As Caesar, he was so central in New Testament times that the Sea of Galilee (around which much of Jesus’ ministry took place) was renamed in his honor as “the Sea of Tiberius.”

Today, we see the many ways people strive for power. They manipulate their reputations and craft desirable images. They shape their résumés and seek to eliminate rivals. The contrast with Jesus could not be greater. He was so unlike the kings of the world. So unlike Tiberius or Augustus or Herod.

Jesus had every right to the riches of heaven and the ultimate power of the universe. Yet instead of striving for recognition and power, Jesus willingly “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” And because of His humility, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:8-9).

Jesus is our example. Following His pattern, we live not for worldly gain or power, but through humility. By dying to ourselves, serving Him, and reaching out to those in need.