26th November 2011

The Upside Down King

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:4-6 (NIV UK)

Powerful kings have always been known for their great pomp, ceremony and privilege, both at home and abroad. When they travel, large retinues of servants, clothes, special foods, and sometimes even items of their personal furniture go with them. All to make sure their royal environment is preserved even in foreign territory.

Kings and queens have to look like kings and queens if their royal majesties are to be recognised and honoured in the ways they are used to. But when the greatest king of all, God himself, came to earth as a human being, he didn’t come in mighty power and with all the attendant pomp and ceremony of human kings. He came in simplicity, in humble surroundings, identifying with the kind of people with whom most kings and queens never have a conversation in their entire lives.

Jesus could have arrived with powerful thunder and lightning, great displays of glory in the sky, endless parades of brilliantly arrayed angels, or some other kind of glorious celebration and fanfare unlike anything humanity had ever witnessed. But he didn’t arrive that way. Instead, he came into the world just as most of us do, with ordinary parents doing the best they could to provide food and shelter and pay the bills.

True, there was an angelic choir, but it appeared only to one group of average shepherds in one field. And there were foreign dignitaries bringing gifts, but they had to be given special directions even to find him, and then sneak in and out, without telling anybody.

For most people power and prestige are the highest goals of life. But in Jesus God has given us what really matters—love, joy and hope—not an endless struggle for the outward glory that the world values so much. Jesus turns our lives and values upside down. In him, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” He brings us true life, life rooted in knowing God for whom he really is—as the One who not only made us, but who loves us and never stops loving us; as the One who redeems our lives and seats us with Christ at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus brought a new kingdom, a kingdom in which everyone matters, not just the nobility. He died and rose for all—rich and poor, noble and peasant, and everyone in between. Even you and me.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, thank you for the simplicity in Christ Jesus, the all-encompassing and embracing that is in Jesus. His is a simple story, but so alien for us to believe. We ask for your help, Holy Father, to comprehend the deepness of your love and the endless warmth and compassion that his story reveals for us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Study by Joseph Tkach

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