Friday, May 02, 2008

The Servant King?

This is our God, the Servant King
He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering,
of worship to the servant
Some people object to Graham Kendrick's hymn The Servant King because they say that Jesus is no longer a servant. He is now the exalted Lord of all. Such thinking betrays some questionable theology. It is as if the servant form that Jesus took at the incarnation was not a true expression of who Jesus really is as the form of God. But humble servanthood is part of the divine identity. When God became man in Jesus Christ, he did not become other than himself. The incarnation was an act of self-expression not self-abnegation. The humiliation of the Son was not an artifice for the sake of the economy of redemption. The Son as man discloses the God, who by his very nature stoops to wash feet and bear the sins of his enemies. As Robert Letham reflects,

"The point is that when we have to do with Jesus Christ we have to do with God. His presence in the world is identical with the existence of the humiliated, obedient, and lowly man, Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, the humiliation, lowliness, and obedience of Christ are essential in our conception of God." (The Holy Trinity, In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship, P&R, 2004, p. 397).

If this is the case, then Jesus remains the humble servant even in his present exalted state. It is part of his very identity. We worship no other Jesus than the Servant King. Besides, we have explicit biblical warrant for Jesus' continued servanthood, "Now I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers." (Romans 15:8). According to Leon Morris, the verb 'become' is "in the perfect tense, indicating a permanent state: Christ continues in his capacity 'as servant of circumcision'." (The Epistle to the Romans Eerdmans/IVP, 1988 p. 503). William Hendriksen confirms this. "Christ became and continues to be 'a servant.' Cf. Isa. 42:1." (New Testament Commentary, Banner of Truth Trust, 1982, p. 475). This is our God, the Servant King. Are you following him?


Stephen said...

I agree, one of my favourite pictures of God is in Revelation. Where God himself wipes away all the tears of those who belong to Him. This God still loves and will always be there for his people. We shall always praise the servant God and we shall serve Him to our delight and to His.

Rachel said...

Some people object to Graham Kendrick's hymn The Servant King because they say that Jesus is no longer a servant.

Yelgh, that's docetic theology of glory if I've ever seen one! Kudos for calling those folks out on the carpet.

noname said...

This understanding has recently come to me.

I totally believe that serving in love is an expression of the divine. Mutually serving one another in love. Show me one way in which God doesn't show us He does that everyday?