“How can someone be so much better than the best?” my brother mused one day. We were talking about Wayne Gretzky, hockey’s “Great One,” who remains without question the best who’s ever played the game. The GOAT (greatest of all time) debate is a bit less settled in some other sports, though many would single out basketball’s Michael Jordan or football’s Jim Brown as standouts over and above an unabridged listing of their peers, and when it comes to the weightier matters of world leadership, the GOAT designation is even more elusive.
Israel’s King Solomon—glorious as he was in wealth and wisdom—looked forward to a Ruler so great as to be without peer. “All kings will bow down to him and all nations serve him,”1 he wrote. What would elevate this Sovereign above all the others? “He will deliver the needy who cry out … the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak … and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.”2 It would be His divine nature to love and His eternal power to act on such love that set Him apart from all others. Who wouldn’t want this Royal?
The King has come; His name is Jesus. He came first to deliver us from our sins—a merciful scapegoat, bearing our justice—and to build His kingdom “not of this world.”3 And herein lies another difference between the heavenly King and all earthly rulers: our risen King does not rule by external decree, but by inner transformation. He changes our hearts to rescue the oppressed, and His love overwhelms us to the point of overflowing to others. We give to His kingdom not through heavy-handed taxation, but through open-handed generosity; we fight His enemy not as a people conscripted into battle, but as a people convicted of His cause.
Jesus will come again, this time to rule over all. Sin will be vanquished, and all will be new. At that time—and at His name—“every knee [shall] 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.”4 There will be no GOAT debate; everyone from great to small will honor Him. So, why wait? Let’s worship Him with submitted lives now.
Father, thank you for loving us so much as to send your Son. I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Send your Spirit to lead me in your way today, that this life would bring glory to you. Amen.
1 Psalm 72:11
2 Psalm 72:12-14
3 John 18:36
4 Philippians 2:10-12