Are You Loyal to Earth’s New King?
1. When Jesus was presented as King in 33 C.E., how did the crowd respond?
ON Nisan 9 of 33 C.E., Jesus Christ presented himself to the Jews as their King, the foretold Messiah. As he came down the Mount of Olives toward Jerusalem, the multitude of disciples rejoiced and praised God because of the powerful works Jesus had performed. (Luke 19:37, 38; Zechariah 9:9) But would they prove loyal to that One whom they hailed as King? Their loyalty was soon put to the test.
2. (a) How are many people today responding to the announcement that Christ is earth’s new King? (b) But what questions deserve serious consideration?
2 Since 1914 the glorified Jesus Christ actively ruling from heaven has been presented to all mankind as earth’s new King. The prospect of life under a government in the hands of Christ, with genuine solutions to the problems of mankind, has caused people out of all nations to rejoice. But will they prove loyal? What about each of us individually?
THE KING’S OWN RECORD OF LOYALTY
3. (a) Why is Jesus himself referred to as Jehovah’s “loyal one”? (b) What is loyalty?
3 Jesus Christ has given abundant evidence that his own loyalty to Jehovah, the Universal Sovereign, is unwavering. He is appropriately referred to in the Scriptures as Jehovah’s “loyal one.” (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:24-27) The Hebrew word for “loyalty” here used contains the thought of being lovingly kind. It is not something cold, based merely on law or justice, but is motivated also by love and appreciation.—Compare Psalm 40:8; John 14:31.
4, 5. (a) How was Jesus’ loyalty shown in heaven, following Satan’s rebellion? (b) How was that loyalty also shown on earth?
4 In heaven, when Satan began to seek for himself honor that belonged only to God and when others of the angels forsook their proper places in Jehovah’s heavenly organization, God’s firstborn Son did not imitate their spirit. To do so was unthinkable on his part! Such was his self-sacrificing devotion that, in carrying out his Father’s will, this loyal Son left behind his heavenly glory, became a human and even submitted to death on a torture stake. Lovingly, he made sure that, as far as it depended on him, no detail of what the Scriptures outlined for him would go unfulfilled.—Philippians 2:5-8; Luke 24:44-48.
5 While Jesus was on earth, Satan brought great pressure on him to turn him aside from the work that God had given him to do—if possible, to entice him to do something that would cause God himself to reject his Son. He urged Jesus to do things that could result in prominence and power—but as part of the world of which Satan was ruler. Jesus refused, quoting the Sacred Scriptures as his guide. (Matthew 4:1-10) Jesus had outstanding abilities and he used them well, but always in harmony with his Father’s will. He occupied himself fully in doing the work that God had sent him to do. (John 7:16-18; 8:28, 29; 14:10) What a fine example of loyalty!
6. In what way does the reward given to Jesus require loyalty of us?
6 Because of Jesus’ proved loyalty, Jehovah raised him from the dead, “exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend . . . and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11) This “name that is above every other name” represents the power and authority conferred on Jesus so that he can fulfill Jehovah’s will. ‘Bending the knee’ to him means recognizing his position and submitting to his authority. It includes being loyally subject to him as King.
LOYAL LOVE FOR JEHOVAH’S ANOINTED ONES
7. Regarding what matters are Jesus’ followers tested as to their loyalty?
7 The fact that, after his ascension to heaven, Jesus could no longer be seen with human eyes would result in heart-searching tests of loyalty for his followers. Would they live by the principles that he had taught them? Would they keep separate from the world? Would they respect those upon whom holy spirit conferred responsibilities of oversight? Would they be whole-souled in doing the work he had assigned them?
8. What was foreshadowed by the loyal love between Jonathan and David?
8 In due time the “other sheep” were to be gathered into association with the “little flock” of heirs of the heavenly Kingdom. Would they truly appreciate their assigned positions in relationship to Christ as King and to one another? The facts show that genuine mutual love has developed among all who are part of the “one flock” under Jesus Christ. This was foreshadowed by the unbreakable, undying love of Jonathan, the son of King Saul, for David. Upon witnessing David’s complete devotion to Jehovah and his reliance on God in slaying the giant Goliath, Jonathan was deeply moved and his “very soul became bound up with the soul of David, and Jonathan began to love him as his own soul.” His love did not lessen when it became apparent that Jehovah would bestow the kingship on David and not on Jonathan. Jonathan even repeatedly risked his life for David.—1 Samuel 17:45-47; 18:1; 23:16, 17.
9. How was similar loyalty shown by non-Israelites who served in David’s army?
9 Besides Jonathan, there were non-Israelites who attached themselves to David. They were not mercenaries but valiant men who acted out of devotion to David as Jehovah’s anointed. Cherethites, Pelethites and former natives of the Philistine city of Gath were among these. They loyally stuck with David when his son Absalom deceitfully sought to steal the hearts of the men of Israel. Despite Absalom’s prominence and cunning, they were not led into a traitorous course by his smooth talk.—2 Samuel 15:6, 10, 18-22.
10. (a) How is the close relationship among Christ, the anointed remnant and the “other sheep” depicted in Psalm 45? (b) In what sense do ‘the virgin companions enter the palace of the king’?
10 Another heartwarming description of the relationship among Christ, the anointed remnant and the “other sheep” is found in Psalm 45. This is not merely beautiful poetry but is prophetic of the Messianic Kingdom—God himself being the “throne,” that is, the foundation and support of Jesus’ kingship. (Psalm 45:1-7; Hebrews 1:8, 9) The psalmist describes the bride of Christ, “the king’s daughter,” being brought to the King on his wedding day. With her are “the virgins . . . her companions.” Who are these? They are the ones who look forward to being earthly subjects of God’s Kingdom. “With rejoicing and joyfulness” they accompany the “bride” class until the very last of these is united with Christ in heaven. With them, they “enter into the palace of the king,” not by ascending to heaven, but by offering themselves for the King’s service. Have you become part of that happy procession?—Psalm 45:13-15.
WHAT DOES LOYALTY REQUIRE OF US?
11. What situations put us to the test as to being “no part of the world”?
11 Countless situations in life show what kind of persons we are. Do we really believe in Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom? Is it real to us? Jesus said that his true followers would be “no part of the world.” Is that true of you?—John 17:15, 16.
12. Even though we are imperfect, in what further ways can we give evidence of loyalty?
12 In the case of us imperfect humans, loyalty does not demand perfection. But it does require that we avoid deliberately violating Bible commands, whether other humans see us or not. It will move us to endeavor to apply Bible principles fully, rather than to see how close we can come to the world’s ways. It will cause us to cultivate genuine hatred for what is bad.—Psalm 97:10.
13. How will loyalty safeguard us against the smooth talk of apostates?
13 If we truly hate what is bad, we are not going to allow curiosity to entice us to get close to it. Being curious about the life of sexually immoral persons can lead one to ruin. (Proverbs 7:6-23) So, too, spiritual ruin may overtake those who out of curiosity buy and read literature produced by apostates, persons who have abandoned Jehovah and his organization and who then verbally “beat” their former associates. (Matthew 24:48-51) Proverbs 11:9 warns: “By his mouth the one who is an apostate brings his fellowman to ruin.” But loyalty will safeguard us against being misled by their smooth talk.—2 John 8-11.
14. (a) What is one of the most important ways in which we can demonstrate our loyalty to Christ as King? (b) Why is this work so important?
14 One of the most important ways we can show loyalty is by being whole-souled in the work that Jesus taught his disciples to do. He personally set the example by going from city to city and village to village, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. (Luke 8:1) Jesus foretold what true Christians would be doing today when he said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) It is by means of this preaching of the good news that the Kingdom issue is being presented to people everywhere so that they can make a personal decision. For a great crowd, that decision will lead to preservation through the great tribulation. (Revelation 7:9, 10) Are you loyally sharing in this urgent work?
15. (a) What does Psalm 145:10-13 say that Jehovah’s loyal ones would be talking about? (b) How does that apply to us?
15 Long ago the psalmist David wrote: “All your works will laud you, O Jehovah, and your loyal ones will bless you. About the glory of your kingship they will talk, and about your mightiness they will speak, to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts and the glory of the splendor of his kingship. Your kingship is a kingship for all times indefinite, and your dominion is throughout all successive generations.” (Psalm 145:10-13) That kingship is now being exercised through the Messianic Kingdom in the loyal hands of Jesus Christ, and we demonstrate our loyalty to both God and Christ by speaking freely and enthusiastically about it.
16. How should loyalty influence the extent to which we share in Kingdom preaching and the motive with which we do it?
16 What prominence in your own life have you given to this work of Kingdom witnessing? Do you really put it ahead of other pursuits? What you personally do may be more or may be less than what others do. The circumstances of individuals differ. But we can all benefit by asking ourselves questions such as these: ‘Does my share reflect merely a sense of duty, a token offering? Do I view it simply as a requirement for survival? Or does love for Jehovah, devotion to his Messianic King and genuine concern for my fellowman move me to give it first place so that other interests in my life are built around it?’ Loyalty will move us to seek ways to demonstrate that this work is as important to us as it is to our King.
17. To whom will Jesus “speak peace” when he destroys the wicked?
17 Soon the One who was jubilantly hailed as King by his disciples as he entered Jerusalem in 33 C.E. will destroy all who reject Jehovah’s sovereignty as expressed through His Messianic King. But he will “speak peace” to that “great crowd” of persons out of all nations who have imitated his own example of loyalty. Will you be among them?—Zechariah 9:10; Ephesians 4:20-24.