Our Servant King
One starry night, long ago, a baby was born in a manger. The angels in the Bible describe this infant to the cowering shepherds as their “Savior… Christ the Lord!” Now, I imagine these Jewish men did not expect the King of kings and Lord of lords—their Messiah!—to come as an infant. But when they hurried from the scene of the angels to meet Jesus, lying in a manger, they saw their God take on one of the humblest forms imaginable. And He did it for you and for me.
There is a hymn that describes our Savior in this state:
“Infant holy, infant lowly;
for His bed a cattle stall.
Oxen lowing, little knowing;
Christ the child is Lord of all.”
When Jesus came, He broke humanity’s understanding of strength. In fact, the Jewish people were waiting for a Messiah who was a mighty warrior that would smite the Romans and their oppressors off the face of the earth. They weren’t expecting a Servant King. But in God’s kingdom, things work a bit differently than we would expect.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about our weaknesses and God’s strength:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
God uses the weak things of the world to confound the strong. Weak things show off the Father’s strength and grace. And when God sent the Messiah, He sent Him humbly, to show us too how to live. I have two examples we can apply from our humble Savior’s life: to serve wherever we are and do so wholeheartedly.
A KING WHO SERVES
What do you think of when you hear the word servant? We read in John 13 at the Last Supper that Jesus took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Imagine…the King of kings takes on the lowest position to wash the disciple’s feet. And then, the Bible says that Jesus finished. This means he washed all their feet—the feet that would soon abandon him, and even the feet he knew would soon rush to betray him. The God of the universe knelt low, towel in hand, to wash the dirty feet of sinful men. At the end of this passage, Jesus says, “Slaves are not greater than their master, nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.”
And we are his messengers, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Let’s remember the example of Christ and go. Let’s be His feet and hands. Let’s serve humbly where He has placed us. And as we do all of this, let’s remember we are not greater than the one who gave us the message! Jesus is our Lord and Master.
A KING WHO CARES
Something I have been pondering lately is the matchless, never-ending, wonderful love of God. As we celebrate this season of Jesus’ birth, I am reminded that the God who created the universe—and us!—gave up His glorious throne to step into this world as a man.
Now don’t get me wrong—Jesus is God. He has always been 100% so. However, when He came to earth, born as a baby, He also became 100% man. This is known as the hypostatic union. And when He was born, His glory was veiled. It cost Jesus to humbly become a human, but He did it out of His great love for us. He chose the road to the cross because He knew His perfect life could be the sacrifice for our imperfect ones. He came to live beside us and share with us how we can have eternal life through Him.
He gave everything He had. Jesus from Christmas day on was committed to the plan for our redemption. And if our King wholeheartedly came to save us, we certainly can wholeheartedly give our lives to serve Him. Take this encouragement today: don’t be semi-involved in the purpose and plan God has for you. Don’t be metaphorically dipping your toes in the water. Take the plunge! Go all in. Serve the people around you with your whole heart. They need the hope, joy, and peace that you have found in having a relationship with Christ! Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with them, and follow through when God provides them.
May we follow the footsteps of our Servant King to humbly serve and do it with all we are—to the glory and praise of Jesus in this season that celebrates his birth!
John Sorensen (Doctorate of Divinity, Knox Theological Seminary & Doctor of Humane Letters, Montreat College) is the president of Evangelism Explosion International (www.evangelismexplosion.org) and host of Share Life Today (www.sharelife.today). Sorensen has authored the books Well Done and Your Story Counts and travels the globe for Evangelism Explosion. This past year Evangelism Explosion International equipped more than 435,000 Christians worldwide to be witnesses for Christ, and saw, by the grace of God, more than 7.9 million people make a profession of faith in Jesus. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Ann, and he has four adult children and six grandchildren.