This article is part of a series looking at the Oxymoronic names of God and how understanding them helps us live as Christians in a fallen world. Please click here to read the introductory article and to find links to other articles in the series.
There is heaps of theology out there, in books, courses, articles and videos about Christ as the Servant King. Most of the material focuses on chapters 40 to 55 in the book of Isaiah in the Bible. Consequently, when I came to write this post, I wondered what contribution I could make to a topic that has been written about so much already.
The difference is perhaps that I have had servants; well, kind of. Please don’t write me off for this; I have spent over three years living in Kathmandu, Nepal and having staff in our house is a means of providing much-needed jobs. In the case of our Cook, we offered her a home too, since she lived with us. We don’t call them servants, but some of the ideas are the same.
In my experience, then, a servant gives up some of their life to further yours. Having staff is a highly intimate experience as they get to see you close up, all your good and bad points. They know about the chocolate you’ve hidden in the fridge, they wash your underwear, and they observe how you discipline and bring up your children. They take a fair bit of getting used to.
I’ve felt a strong sense of teamwork with the staff I’ve had. If I have to host an event at our house, they are a reassuring presence as we work together to run the occasion. Good communication is essential, and I have to trust them; otherwise, I drive them mad micro-managing everything they do. They are my link to the local real-world, and I am their link to the ex-pat world. We learn from each other and ask a lot of questions.
So what does all this mean for our understanding of Jesus as the Servant King? I believe he, too, wishes to enter our household and take part in our intimate family lives. We see this longing in Revelation 3:20, in a letter written to Christians: ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in’. He wants to be in the midst of everything going on with us, the good and messy. I suppose he could send angels instead, but he opts to join us Himself.
But Jesus is not only a servant; He is King too. Therefore he has standards and responsibilities he cannot violate. When He serves us, He won’t submit to our will over His own. He only helps us in those areas of our life that also further his Kingdom. I can instruct my staff to do things that are not good for me, such as serving me alcohol at all times of the day, but Jesus is not that type of Servant. He only does what is good for us.
Just like the way in which my staff connect me to the local world, Jesus connects us to His Kingdom, which consists of spiritual forces we can’t see clearly on our own. We can learn from him and invite Him to influence our daily lives so that He becomes a reassuring presence we trust and rely on.
We have the incredible opportunity to invite Jesus into our lives and to allow him to see everything that goes on. Why not permit him to further those areas of your life that build His Kingdom? And, no matter what, keep on communicating with Him, everything He does is for our good.
To return to the Oxymoronic God series of articles please click here.
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