On April 30, 2019, Japan’s Emperor Akihito will mark his 85th birthday with a historic act: he will abdicate the throne, something that hasn’t happened in the nation for more than two centuries. While the emperor’s plans are controversial, the larger concern is that the royal line has a diminishing number of heirs, a situation that may eventually develop into a constitutional crisis. These realities are all the more unnerving because the Japanese dynasty is the oldest monarchy in the world, tracing its lineage back to the year 660.

The prophet Isaiah announced that God would send a king into the world to rescue humanity. Isaiah proclaimed that though the people “walk in darkness,” the darkness would not overwhelm them. Soon, they would “see a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). And this great light would pierce the oppressive gloom. It would come in the person of a powerful king who would “break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders” (Isaiah 9:4). This king would “break the oppressor’s rod” (Isaiah 9:4).

Shockingly, this King would arrive as a child, a mere baby who would grow up into the fullness of God. And one day, in God’s time, this baby would be our true ruler, and all the governments of the world would “rest on his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6). This means that when the story concludes, every knee (every government, every human institution) will bend their knee before this King of love and justice (Romans 14:11). And, thanks be to God, the reign of this good King “will never end” (Isaiah 9:7). Never.

There’s very little we can count on in this world, but we can rest all of our future and all of our hopes on the reign of Jesus who will be the true King forever.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 5:17-30