The Regal Gospel

Royal treatment from the true King.

by Roy Gee

The gospel is a regal thing.

Jesus said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God . . .” (Luke 4:43).

Abraham Lincoln said that God must love common people because He made so many of them. The cynic says God must hate common people because He made them so common.

I’m a commoner. You’ll not find a drop of blue blood in the veins of any Gees. We’re not related to Queen Elizabeth II in any way. There’s no hereditary nobility whatsoever in our family background.

Yet Jesus speaks about the good news (gospel) “of the kingdom of God.” If the gospel is associated with a kingdom, then it is royal.

Focus on the King

Surely, as a commoner I can have no important place in such a blue blood, regal kingdom. And the kingdom Jesus is speaking of is not earthly, but divine. Now I know I’m excluded.

But I am not the important feature in kingdom imagery. The important feature of a kingdom is the king, or monarch.

Jesus said, “If I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you” (Luke 11:20). The kingdom of God has come because the King has come. If you don’t understand about kingdoms and commoners, don’t worry. All you have to know about is the King, because where the King is, there the kingdom is.

To believe in the King is to be in the kingdom.

Chance meeting

On July 17, 1994, a 32-year-old cab driver, Juan Blanco, drove to Pasadena. It was the day of the soccer World Cup Final between Brazil and Italy.

Though he knew it was unlikely, Juan thought maybe he could buy a ticket from a scalper. Some tickets were available, but nothing a cab driver could afford.

That evening Juan went to work. Early the next morning, Monday, he was sitting in his Triple A cab in front of the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. A fare climbed in the back and said, “Take me to Fullerton Marriott, please.”

As he drove, Juan looked in the mirror. I know this man, he thought. But who is he? Aloud he said, “I went to the Rose Bowl yesterday for the final, but I couldn’t afford a ticket. I’m from Mexico, and a great supporter of Mexico. When we were knocked out of the tournament, I decided to support Brazil. I wanted Brazil to win, and was happy they did. Did you see the game?”

“I was in the game,” answered the fare. “I’m Claudio Taffarel, the Brazilian goalkeeper.”

“Oh, man!” cried Juan, trying to stay on the road. “Soccer royalty in my cab!”

After dropping Taffarel in Fullerton, Juan drove home. During breakfast he told his brother Rosalio excitedly, “Do you know who was in my cab? Taffarel, the Brazilian goalkeeper! He may be a World Cup star, but he’s just like a real person. I mean, he chatted with me. He was so approachable and friendly.”

Discovering treasure

Juan slept a little, and returned to his cab. On the back seat he found a pink and black fanny pack that wasn’t there before. He opened the first zipper and there were keys and coins inside. He opened the second zipper and there were passports inside: Brazilian passports, for Claudio Taffarel, his wife, and daughter. Juan opened the third zipper: Sixty thousand dollars!

Think what that would buy in Mexico! Juan thought. But then he found something better than $60,000: a gold World Cup winner’s medal.

“Rosalio! Come see what I’ve got!” shouted Juan. Rosalio came running. They both stared in wonder. Forget the money; forget the passports; a World Cup medal! Who among their friends had ever seen such a treasure, much less handled one?

Juan and Rosalio jumped in the cab and rushed to Fullerton. (They grabbed a couple of videos they’d made of World Cup games; maybe Taffarel would autograph them.) When they arrived at the Marriott, it was surrounded by police, guarding the World Cup winners. Juan approached one of the guards. “This fanny pack belongs to Taffarel, the Brazilian goalkeeper. Will you get it to him?”

Taffarel had discovered his loss, but didn’t know where he had left the fanny pack. When it was brought upstairs, he was thrilled — but not happy. “Bring my friends up!” he demanded.

Royal treatment

The two brothers were ushered up to the penthouse. They were surrounded by celebrating World Cup winners — soccer players known around the world. The players all hugged the two cab-driver brothers and welcomed them.

Right there, they were interviewed on Brazilian television.

Would Taffarel autograph their videos? “I’ll autograph anything you wish.” Taffarel exclaimed. He autographed Juan’s white cab shirt, right across the back. “And just for you,” said Taffarel, “is a thousand dollars!”

Down in the lobby the brothers were interviewed by American television. “How did you get through all the security?” they were asked.

“We had no hope,” Juan answered. “But those Brazilian players are real soccer royalty. They got us through security. They welcomed us and hugged us and gave us money. They may be world champions, but they’re so friendly and approachable.”

True royalty

Jesus is king. What could be more remote and distant than a king? We dare not, and cannot, get close to a king. But Jesus is true royalty. Jesus is infinitely approachable because He first approached us. Long before we knew anything about it, He approached this world, He approached the human race.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world”‘ (Matthew 25:34).

Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with Him and to be His holy and innocent and loving people (Ephesians 1:4, CEV).

We may be common, meager sinners. But Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to be chosen as citizens in His kingdom The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is regal.

Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.