Imagine a king in his throne room, sitting on his royal throne. He is dressed in all his royal regalia, with a glistening crown upon his head and a golden sceptre in his hand. Set before him is a long, royal table, beautifully set for his guests, who will be eating before him on this momentous occasion. Standing around the table, and filling the room, are all the king’s servants, ready and dressed for service.
The time arrives for his honoured guests to be seated and served. Who will come through the doors to experience this most special event? The king lifts his sceptre and commands all his servants to sit themselves down at the royal table. There is a pause of confusion as the servants, who are dressed for service, claim their seats to be served. But who will bring the food? Who will serve drink? Who will wait upon the guests? With great shock, the king himself rises from his throne, lays aside his royal sceptre, removes his royal robes, takes to himself a towel, girds himself for service, and comes forth joyfully to serve. The great king himself is the servant of his people. This is unfathomable. This is unheard-of.
This is Jesus:
Jesus – The Servant-King
“The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” – Matthew 20:28; “For who is the greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” – Luke 22:27
Even when Jesus returns as the immortal King of the world to gather his faithful servants it says,
“He will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” – Luke 12:37
In the world we know, ‘greater people’ are, without question, served by ‘lesser people’; people of higher status are carried by people of lower status; ‘inferior people’ meet the needs of ‘superior people’.
God and Jesus are the greatest beings in the universe, but they are utterly unique in showing their infinite power and majesty, not by inferior people carrying them and meeting their needs, but by carrying inferior people and meeting their needs. This is what Jesus, the King of the world, was going to do when he arrived on the earth:
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” – Isaiah 40:11
The God Who Carries
The king of the world, Jesus Christ, came to the world and carried his people in his arms. What about God, his Father? Is He like this as well? In Isaiah 46:1-5, comparing Himself to all other ‘gods’, idols and religions of the world, who require people to do things for them, carry them, fight for them, and exert energy for them, God proclaims Himself in the most startling and breathtaking way:
“Listen to me [my people] who have been burdened upon me from before your birth, who are carried by me from the womb: And even to your old age I am he, and to grey hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear, I will carry and will save. To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike?” Isaiah 46:1-5
Is this how you know God and Jesus? As beings who don’t ask you to carry them or bear up under them, but as beings who ask you to allow yourself to be carried by them – not for a moment, but for your entire life, from birth, through your teenage years, through your years of bodily strength, to your grey hairs until your death and the day of salvation?
We were made, not to carry, but to be carried.
If you think you need to carry the burden, that you need to carry God, and that you need to save yourself, you do not yet know the true God. For it is He who carries the burden, He who carries you, and He who saves, and there is no other God like Him! Even Jesus Christ himself was no carrier of God, but was carried by God his whole life “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18), and said emphatically, “By myself I can do nothing” (John 5:30).
“And they were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” – Mark 10:13-16
Becoming Like Children
We must become as children – humble, dependent, needy and carried. Totally helpless to save themselves, but safe and certain in the arms of their Father. The call of the Gospel is a call into the arms of the Father and His Son, Jesus, to live out our lives in rest, as a child does, in the protection, love, strength, and joy of their loving Dad. In those arms, little children are strong, not because they have strength, but because they are carried by one who is strong.
Jesus came to bring Good News to the world by revealing a God who is utterly unique and beautiful – a God who carries His people in His arms. For all who are burdened in whatever way, let this God of Good News give you rest in His arms.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” – John 13:3-5