Monday, April 13, 2009

Unlikely King

Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech 9:9)

"Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls." (Matt 11:29)

What would you expect to see, if you met a king? Certainly he would be dressed in the finest cloths bejeweled with symbols of his status. Perhaps he would dress in a military uniform with a sash embroidered with the purest gold and silver thread and decked with diamonds and precious stones and an enormous badge bearing his coat of arms, declaring his reign. Undoubtedly his hands would be weighed down by massive rings on each finger that he would flash gracefully in a kingly greeting. He would stand erect and proud with a slight backward tilt of the head so as to gaze down upon his adoring subjects. His entourage would also be similarly arrayed but in no way matching the king's attire. All coming before the king would first need to be filtered out by the king's underlings, and if per chance you managed to make the cut, you would humble yourself before the king and bow deeply (as our President did before King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) and avoid making direct eye contact with him.

Such is what one might expect from an earthly king, but Jesus did not present Himself in such a manner. As He entered Jerusalem on His final week, His entourage was a motley band of rugged fishermen, a hated tax collector and some Jewish rebels. His ride was a humble little donkey colt that could barely support His weight, not the gleaming white steed becoming of a conquering ruler. His clothing was of the common sort, not the fine linen worn by royalty. And as He looked down upon He adoring subjects, His heart broke for them and He cried, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes" (Luke 19:42), for the same adoring masses that were cheering, "Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord," would soon turn into a jeering mob shouting "Crucify! Crucify!"

An earthly king wants to be served. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. An earthy king expects his subjects to give their lives for him. Jesus came to give His life a ransom for many. An earthly will take all that you own for his own purposes. Jesus gave up the splendor of heaven, where all of creation was at His beck and call, to assume the form of His creation, and give to them eternal life. An earthly king executes lawbreakers without mercy. Jesus by His grace, mercy and love, was executed by sinners. When an earthly king dies, here is great pomp and ceremony and the world mourns his passing. When Jesus died, His death was witnessed by a few brokenhearted women and one young disciple. He was hurriedly and unceremoniously placed in a borrowed tomb and forgotten. When an earthly king dies, he remains dead, but when Jesus died, He reclaimed His lifeless body on the third day and rose to life again.

This most unlikely king said He would return for His own "that where I am, there you may be also." When He comes again, every knee shall bow and every tongue will proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. When He comes again, He will come as Victorious King astride a blindingly white charger, arrayed in His royal attire: royal crown and robes inscribed with His title: KING of kings and LORD of Lords. Unlikely king? Not hardly!


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