This article is about Jesus Christ as King and Jesus Christ as Servant.

Source: New Horizons, 1984. 2 pages.

The Man who Would be King

Rudyard Kipling in his short story, The Man Who Would Be King, explores the secret fantasies most of us entertain of being rich or important some day, even being king!

In his account two worthless drifters – who fancy themselves deserving Englishmen – set out upon a scheme to trick, cajole and subjugate a backward, unsuspecting Indian state, Kafiristan. Through braggadocio and a good deal of gunpowder, they pull off their caper. They proclaim themselves “kings of Kafiristan.” They succeed! But only too well. For the people take them to be gods. When one of these god-kings decides to marry a mere mortal, the commoners finally see through the ruse and dispatch the self-serving kings.

Contrast this with the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the day of his entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21). From a political standpoint, this was Jesus' big day! Here was what he had been waiting for, one might think. If he wished to be king of Israel, it was time to strike out boldly.

On his way to the capital he pauses by the roadside to touch and to heal two blind men. Lost men. Forgotten men. Men without means or clout. Men holding up the parade.

Nearer to the city now, as his following is building, the king begins to cry. Not the hardened military man who holds promise of overthrowing the Romans. This king's heart is breaking over the ignorant, spiritual condition of the people. He weeps for their souls which are under the angry judgment of God. What a king!

He is entering the city now. The crowds are spilling around him, calling out to him, laying coats and branches before him. There is a good possibility that this spontaneous show of support could lead to the palace. But, no! The king is turning to the temple. Not to a political caucus. No revolutionary strategy is planned. And no campaign funds are collected. The man is more concerned about the pure worship of God – about prayer, not profits.

The king turns to teaching the common people once again. He is a tireless worker, for sure; but about making an empire he does not have a clue. The moment is lost. The crowd becomes tired of Bible study.

The king however, is not oblivious to his mission. He is pursuing a different course. His way takes him to Calvary. There he dies for the sins of his subjects. Their everlasting destiny has been his concern all along. The winning of their redemption has been the main focus of his heavenly kingdom. This king has been a true servant to his people and to his heavenly Father; but those facts seem lost to the world of his time.

There are many servants who would be king. That is not unusual. But there was one king who would be a servant! The amazing Lord Jesus Christ! He who truly deserved to be served by all was willing to be a servant to all – to give his life a ransom for many.

The inner desires we all have at times to be wealthy, to be prominent, to be in charge, to be right, to be king in our own way, can be seen in their proper light only against the unselfish leadership that we see in our king, the Lord Jesus.

If the king serves the subjects, how much more should the subjects serve that king? If the king loves his subjects well enough to die for them, how should we regard those same subjects? True Christianity is servanthood. Being a Christian is being a servant, because being a Christian is being like Christ, a servant.

Perhaps this very day there are those who would be king in our churches. Elders versus pastor struggling for control, destroying the church in the process. There are those who would be kings in their homes – husbands lording it over their wives and children, wives defiantly defending their equality, teenagers arguing their rights and fighting to be independent.

Yes, there are many who would be king. How about you? Would you be king? There once was a real King among us. But he said, “I am among you as one who serves.”

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