A Different Kind of King

Jesus was not the kind of king the people expected or wanted.

Read about it in Luke 21:20–28 (ESV).

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. 23 Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 

25 “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Think about It

Can you imagine the mightiest king on earth? The people of Israel hoped Jesus would be a great king who would build them into a powerful nation once again, but Jesus taught them that their expectations were much too small. Jesus wanted to show the people that he was even better than that! Yes, Jesus was the king Israel had been waiting for, but he was a different kind of king than they expected. He showed them that lasting salvation couldn’t be found in human kingdoms—they will all pass away.

Jerusalem was Israel’s greatest and most beloved city, but Jesus told a terrifying story of an enemy attack that would destroy it. The message was clear: don’t put your hope in this place. Human kingdoms are here today and gone tomorrow, but the kingdom of God stands forever. Even as Jesus was planning on going to the cross to rescue us from our sin, he wanted us to know that he was doing it in a way that would last for all time. Jesus wasn’t only talking about the destruction of Jerusalem in this passage. He was also talking about when he would come again at the end of the world. On that Last Day, King Jesus will appear from above with power and great glory to bring his followers into God’s kingdom forever. That is what we should put our hope in.

This passage is not just a warning to the people of Jesus’s day. It is also a warning to us of what will happen if we don’t trust in Jesus for forgiveness of our sins. One day every person will have to give an account to God for what he or she has done. God can accept nothing less than perfection, because he is perfect and that’s what his law requires (Matthew 5:48). Jesus was warning the people of his day because he cared for them. He also cares for us and wants us to turn to him to be saved. If we trust in Jesus, instead of being afraid to meet God on Judgment Day, we will point to Jesus and say, “He paid for my sins on the cross.” And our heavenly Father will open his arms wide to welcome us into his family where we will live forever (Hebrews 9:27–28).

Talk about It

  • Why do you think God allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed? (Jerusalem was destroyed forty years after Jesus spoke these words both as a judgment for sin and because the destruction of Jerusalem meant the end of sacrifices in the temple. Jesus’s death and resurrection meant that those sacrifices were no longer needed [Hebrews 10:10–14]. God’s Word also warns us that a final judgment will come on the Last Day when Jesus returns.)
  • Why do you think Jesus warned the people about God’s judgment? (Jesus warned the people because he loved them and wanted them to come to him in faith so they could be rescued. And many were rescued. See Acts 2 for the story of how many people, even those who wanted him crucified, put their faith in Jesus.)
  • As we prepare to celebrate Easter, how should we think about the second coming of Jesus? (As believers, we should look forward to that day in hope because Jesus has paid for our sins. We are forgiven and our salvation will be made complete—we will be glorified with God in heaven, forever free from sin. Also, knowing that unbelievers will receive final judgment for their sin on that day should cause us to live with urgency as we share the love of Jesus with them.)

Pray about It

Ask God to help you live in joyful anticipation of Jesus’s second coming.

Family Activity

two crowns

Draw two crowns: the one people thought Jesus would wear, and the one he wore the day he was crucified. (If you need help, read John 19:1–5).

Excerpted from Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional © 2015 by Scott James. May not be reproduced without prior written permission.

Mission Accomplished Frontcover


Starting on Palm Sunday, your family will spend fourteen days walking in devotions with Jesus. Extending your devotional time into the week beyond Easter Sunday will encourage your family to follow the risen Jesus as he calls his disciples to spread the good news to all nations.

About the author

Scott James

Scott James serves as an Elder at The Church at Brook Hills. He and his wife, Jaime, have four children and live in Birmingham, AL, where he works as a pediatric physician and researcher. He is the author of two family worship books and two illustrated children's books including Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional.

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