Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Servant King

Kings and stuff, right? Like Henry VIII. Crown on head, hands on hips, eyes fastened on you from a massive portrait with that, ‘You looking at me?’ stare. Yep, that’s a king, alright; with intimidating life or death powers at his command.

These days we prefer our Monarchs to be of the constitutional rather than absolute variety. Democracy and all that. But in the ancient world rulers held unquestioned sway over their subjects. Or at least if you did dare to question, it wouldn’t end well for you. Well, yes, there was Charles I, but let’s not go there. By and large, kings ruled, OK?

On Palm Sunday a different kind of King rode into town. The town was Jerusalem and the King was Jesus. The crowds hailed him as the King who had come in the name of the Lord. They gave him the ancient equivalent of the red carpet treatment by strewing his path with palm branches. But, uh? What kind of King is this?

King Jesus wasn’t seated upon a stately war horse, but a humble donkey. He rode into Jerusalem as the King of Peace, not to obliterate his enemies, but to lay down his life for them. By the following Friday he did just that when the King of the Jews was crucified outside the walls of the Holy City.

Jesus said, ‘The Son of Man has come not to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.’ He was bent not on self-aggrandizing conquest, but dying in our place out of self-giving love. Jesus was willing to pay the price so that people like you and me may be forgiven and be put right with God through faith in him.

Jesus rose from the dead on the first Easter Sunday morning. He was exalted to God’s right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords. ‘This is our God, the Servant King, he calls us now to follow him.’

*For White Horse News, March edition. 

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