by Tim Hall
News is breaking as these words are written: Prince Philip, age 86, has been admitted to a hospital in London with a chest infection. Better known to Americans, perhaps, as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Philip yet represents royalty in Great Britain. Though the severity or the outcome of this illness is uncertain, one thing is very certain: One day he will pass from the scene, as will his wife.
We’ve learned to expect it. Though one may be a powerful and effective ruler of a nation, we know their power will one day end. In some instances that end is celebrated. Who can forget the vivid scenes in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was captured, then later executed? The image of his giant statue being toppled by invading forces foreshadowed what happens to every human ruler. Though we refer to them as “potentate,” “sovereign,” or some other such title, the description lasts only for a time.
One day the one in whom an entire nation trusted will breathe his last. His power will only be a memory. Then someone else will take up the mantle, for good or evil.
These thoughts help explain why the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 1:17 are so marvelous: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (NKJV).
He was writing about Jesus, of course. And note those all-important descriptive words: eternal, immortal. No governor, president, or prince has ever earned such tribute. Only Jesus can be described in this way.
This truth was pronounced before Jesus inhabited the womb of Mary. Gabriel spoke the words found in Luke 1:33: “And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
No end. Jesus’ powerful and benevolent reign will not be cut short by assassins, disease or military defeat. The one whose power is needed most of all will be on his throne forever.
Another angel echoed the good news in Revelation 11:15: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever!” We’ve never known anyone like this before, but Jesus will be in control endlessly.
We extend our well wishes to Prince Philip as we would to any other person created in God’s image. But if he overcomes this physical ailment, there will be another that will remove him one day from the land of the living. The same can be said of every other human who wields power.
Jesus Christ, however, will reign forever. He is the King eternal, immortal!
We serve a king who will always be with us.