24th December 2018

The King and the Humble Maiden

“…Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself…”
Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV)

Jesus sometimes spoke in parables. A parable can present things in a different way and the main theme can give an interesting illustration of religious truths. Bearing in mind that a parable is not intended to be a precise blueprint with all its details corresponding to actual reality. One such parable[1] about the incarnation is related below:

“The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden.
How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way his very kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her in royal robes, she would surely not resist him. But would she love him?
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind. Would she be happy at his side? How would he know?
If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover—an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and let shared love cross over the gulf between them.”

In this parable the king wanted a marriage of love and was wise enough to understand that love cannot be forced or coerced, it has to be freely given and freely received. The parable continues with him approaching her cottage incognito as a humble beggar. In this way she was free to develop a relationship and recognise his genuine love for her and was free to grow to love him. Alternatively she was also free to reject his love.

In giving up his power and glory and becoming a humble human being, Jesus showed God’s unconditional love for all humanity. He came in a way that human beings can relate to and freely learn to love him, without coercion or manipulation, out of a response to his love; they are also free to reject that love.

Prayer
Father, we thank you that you have revealed the breadth and depth of your love through Jesus Christ. Give us the wisdom to be able to play our part in revealing it into an unknowing world.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
The Source Training & Conference Centre
300 Meadowhall Way
Sheffield
S9 1EAMeeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

[1] Philipp Yancey, Disappointment With God, Page 109.

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