|Jonathan, although being the firstborn son of the king, never reigned, and was, therefore, “the greatest king that Israel never had”. Of course, this isn’t strictly true. Jesus Christ was far, far greater than Jonathan – greater than all others. Although he had followers, some of whom worshipped and obeyed him, he never reigned as a king during his mortal life.
Did he have great wealth? No. Did he have a palace, or castle from which he ruled? No. Did he have lands, or an army? Again, the answer is no. But one day he will have all these things, and more. One day, the entire world will be his.
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” (Psalm 2:8)
And when he comes, those who have, during their lifetimes,
“rejoiced to see his day” (John 8:56),
will be united with him. Will we be there? Only if we are willing to follow the example of those who have gone before – people like Jonathan. Trials, temptations, opportunities come upon all God’s faithful servants. There are things that have to be rejected: some of them may appear to be minor and insignificant, some maybe not so. Yet the call of the Gospel is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things – glory, immortality, pleasure and privilege beyond anything this world can ever offer – will be ours, by grace (Matthew 6:33).
If this means turning our backs on greatness in this life, then we shall be walking in the footsteps of men like Jonathan. He looked in faith to the time when David’s greater Son would come, knowing that, one day, through his work and that of his faithful followers, the world will be transformed.