Jesus is like Joash, Only Better

Joash of Judah (2 Kings 11-12; 2 Chronicles 23-24) was one of Judah's better kings. Amidst the strings of evil and idolatrous kings of Israel and Judah, every so often a good one pops up (though only in Judah, never in the northern kingdom, and never completely good). The good kings get our hopes up, and then dash them to pieces as they fail and die and their good accomplishments are undone by evil successors. The good kings remind us that they're not good enough. They remind us that there is a much better King, the truly good King, whom God has promised and whose reign will no no end.

Joash had a rather eventful start to life. As a baby he was caught up in a coup and only just saved from being killed by his grandmother, the ruthless dictator. His brothers were killed in an attempt to kill any claimants to the throne, yet God used his people to save Joash.

Israel's true great King would also be saved as a baby from the slaughter of an insecure ruler. Herod had all the baby boys in Bethlehem put to death to avoid any threat to his throne. But God preserved His Newborn King.

After being saved from slaughter, Joash was hidden, living in God's house until the time came for Him to be anointed as King. And what a coronation! As the anointed one took his throne, there was rejoicing among God's people at the new freedom they had under their new king - they old, evil ruler had been overthrown, the bondage of that evil reign was no more (2 Kings 11:20). And not only that, but even idols were torn down at the beginning of this reign of the Lord's anointed (2 Kings 11:18).

And what was the great accomplishment of Joash's reign? The restoration of the house of The Lord! Here was God's anointed king who did what was right in God's eyes (2 Kings 12:2) and restored God's house.

But this glorious reign didn't last forever. In fact, Joash's reign was cut short as he was put to death by his own people (2 Kings 12:20-21).

In so many ways Joash is like the long-promised King — Jesus. Jesus has overthrown the evil one to whom we were in bondage and set us free to rejoice in Him. Jesus has cast down idols in our hearts. Jesus is the One who builds God's house (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:21-22). Jesus is the only one who has always done what is right in God's eyes, and Jesus was handed over to death by Hs own people. Jesus is like Joash.

But Jesus is better than Joash. Much better. It's not only in Jesus' kingdom that the evil one is overthrown, idols cast down and God's people set free, but it's Jesus Himself who does all this through His mighty redeeming work of living, dying and rising for us. And the house which Jesus is building isn't one that will end up being destroyed by a conquering army, but one in which God will dwell with His people for all eternity (Rev. 21:3).

Finally, although Jesus was handed over to death by His own people, He was handed over despite His innocence and His death accomplished God's great plan of salvation. Jesus's death is a glorious death, for through His death we have life. Joash's death wasn't glorious at all. For Joash was not a perfect king, and towards the end of he got worse. 2 Kings 12:17-18 tells us how he sinned by trusting in men and money rather than in God. 2 Chronicles 24:21-22 tells us that he even ended up killing the prophet of God (the son of the very man who had saved his life as a baby!). Joash was far from a perfect king!

There only is one perfect King — Jesus. And though Joash can point us to Jesus, neither Joash nor any other earthly king can compare to the glory of heaven's King.

(P.S. While your thinking about Joash, you might also like to think about Jehu.)