Come See The Servant King
Why would these Magi want to search for another king, a foreign king? Another person to rule over them to push them around to tax them to harass them to want to control them use them for their own gain or force them to perform. Are they nuts?What fool in their right mind goes searching for someone to rule over them?Well anyone who leaves on a journey only guided only by a star, must be a bit crazy?
On the other hand they might know something. They might have heard something.They may have a hunch that this king, this ruler is going to be different. Maybe they heard he’s not going to be like those other kings. The kings who are ruthless.Look at Herod: he was so ruthless he’d even kill his own son to maintain his power.
Maybe they had heard he wasn’t like those other kings who grasped every dollar they could from their people to fund their self indulgent lifestyles. Maybe he’s not going to build empires to glorify himself, to show how great he is. Maybe he won’t attack or belittle anyone who he thought was potentially better than him.
So was this king different, did this leader of the Jews offer anything more than any of the other kings, queens and other misfits who pushed their way into power? Or were these guys known as the Magi, possibly kings themselves, the so called wise men,disillusioned, full of wishful thinking? Well today’s text doesn’t tell us.
From the Bible we don’t know a lot about these characters, other than they followed a star from the East searching for the “king of the Jews”. They were searching for him so that they could worship him. And when they found him they were over the moon.The term Magi implies that they knew a bit about the stars. And so they probably realized that the particular star they followed was special. It announced the arrival of a king. But it still doesn’t answer the question why come searching for this king? And a foreign king? Surely as foreigners they didn’t expect to be accepted by his entourage.
Let alone himself. Unless of course they expected that this king, this person, the person that others called the Messiah, the Anointed One was different, was a different kind of ruler, a special sort of leader.Well how do you see Jesus….see God??? Think about it for a moment. Do you see Jesus as just another super power. Another leader who has come to earth to boss you around to stop you from having fun, to take your money, take full control of your life. A leader who doesn’t really care about you or your situation, who is ruthless, who makes promises that he can’t or doesn’t deliver.
Do you see Jesus as a big brother who is looking at your every move, waiting for you to slip up, so He can punish you. Do you see Jesus as being only concerned about himself, his power, his life? Maybe you see him as someone to be avoided. Someone not to be trusted, someone we should hide from someone who is going to make us feel useless, not worthy. There must be times when you, when I, see Jesus like this. When we see Jesus as the unfair dictator, someone who has come to dominate our lives. Someone who makes our lives miserable and takes away any happiness we might have.
Otherwise why then would we avoid him? Why would we at times go off doing our own thing. Ignoring what God says, ignoring what God commands Why would we only do things on the condition that they benefitted us? Why are we reluctant to show love to God, show love to others, our neighbors? At least some of the times, we must see Jesus, see God, as some distant, uncaring, selfish, partypooper ruler. But is this the true picture, the true image of God? Is this the God that we worship on this day, the Epiphany of our Lord?
Epiphany is when we celebrate that the Lord revealed himself to us, to everyone.It is the day where we celebrate God revealing himself as human, as Jesus. And it is a day we also remember that God continues to reveal himself as the God for everyone.But is God simply a ruler like all other rulers? Is He a god like the other gods who burden us, suck us dry of all life? Is that the real Jesus, the true picture of God or is he some other kind of leader? Is there something different about him? The Magi must have thought there was something different about him. They must have known something.Because when they found him they didn’t just casually walk into his house.The Bible says, ’They were elated…they were over the moon…over come with joy…overwhelmed with joy.’For them this occasion is better than winning a Grand Prize. Better than getting exceptional marks at school. It is better than clinching that job you have always wanted.Or receiving the gift of your dreams. Imagine how you would feel if you received everything you dreamt about? Well that’s how they felt? There must have been something different about him? Surely they weren’t seeking some ruthless dictator?
What did they know? Well we can’t be sure whether they knew anything more than what the Bible tells us? And in the Bible there is no discussion about what the Magi knew.All that is mentioned is that they came to worship, the recently born King of the Jews.Maybe they just knew that he had been born. That he was special, he was different or maybe they knew a even little more. Maybe God had given them other insights.Maybe they knew as much as the prophets, the chief priests, the scribes. Maybe they knew what we know.
On the other hand perhaps they knew nothing more, nothing other than he was the King of the Jews, and he had been born. What they knew wasn’t important. Where their focus was, was important! Their focus was on Jesus. However we can be sure that the chief priests, the scribes and we know something about God. We know He is some different kind of leader, some unique ruler. That He is a leader worth following. A leader who is unlike all other leaders, rulers and kings. He is a leader who has something to offer everyone. How do they know? How can we know?
Remember the story and how the Chief Priests respond to Herod’s question “where is the Messiah to be born?” The Magi didn’t just sit there and look up to the sky, and dreamed up some response. They turned to what God had given them, the Scriptures,what the prophets had written. What we know as the Old Testament, in Micah 5.Quoting that out of Bethlehem will come a ruler, that he will come to rule us.But if we have a look at Micah 5 we will find out what kind of ruler this ruler will be. This is the type of ruler that Micah 5 ays he is. He will be with us. He will feed us.
He will keep us secure. He will bring us peace. and will rescue us from our enemies.This is why Matthew and most translations give a truer picture of God. They show that he is a God who cares. They indicate he has come to be our shepherd. Jesus is someone who will protect us, someone who will feed us, someone who will guide us away from what hurts us to what is good for us, someone he will keep us secure, someone who will search after us, not to capture us and eat us or even punish us but to find us when we are lost, when we are distressed, when we have been fools and thought we knew better and have gone our own way, and have ended up burnt out, hurt, full of too much pride to turn back or we attempt to do everything ourselves.God will search for us, to carry us, to carry not only our worries, but the worries we have for our families, the worries we have for the world. In fact God wants to carry those things that weigh us down. He comes after us, as Psalm 23 says, to lead us to a place of calmness to restore our souls. And for us it gets even better.
Listen to what Jesus says in John: , “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” and as he says in Matthew and Mark, “He did not come to be served, he came to serve.” He came to serve me. And he came to serve you That’s right this ruler, this leader,o ur messiah, our God came to serve you., your work colleagues, your team mates, the people in the pubs, the people playing the ponies, the poor, your enemies, the rich. That’s right he came to serve everyone.
That’s what Epiphany is about, God revealing himself to be not only the God of the Jews, but the God of the entire world. And more importantly that He is a God who cares, a God who serves, a God who as Psalm 116 says is gracious, is righteous, is full of compassion. Jesus came as a babe to show us that he is a caring God for everyone, no matter your race, your background, your wealth, no matter how you look. He came to serve everyone, as Martin Luther highlights that in relation to that part in the Lord’s Prayer, give us our daily bread, the bible says “God gives daily bread (everything we need) to everyone, even without our prayers, and even to all evil people..”
And As Isaiah 43 says He is with us all the time. God wants to look after you.He wants to help you out. God wants to enjoy the good times with you and to help you through the tough times, even when you mess up, God says I am there for you. But how does he serve you? Consider Psalm 145 he gives you your food at the proper time. Providing everything you need. Consider what he tells us in Jeremiah. God is there with you to bear the heat, to help you not be anxious during times of drought (Jeremiah 17:8)
However the best way he serves you is by making you good enough to enter heaven. So that you can experience a life forever that is one continual feast. That is a magnificent treasure. Heaven is a place where nothing ever spoils, perishes or fades. Wow what a leader!! What a God!! A God that wants you to have all that. A God that is with you now and will be with you forever.
As it says in Matthew and Mark, Jesus came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. How many other leaders, rulers, kings, would give his life for everyone…for you. Jesus came to pay your price, to receive the consequences that you should receive for not being perfect, for not fully meeting God’s commandments, for at times doing your own thing, thinking of yourself before God and before others. He came to fix up your relationship with His Father. So you can experience heaven forever. So you can get through the front door and stay. So you are good enough to stand before God. Jesus serves you by saying to God His Father I died and rose again for this person, for you. You will be in heaven because Jesus has received the punishment you deserve. That is how the king the Magi were seeking serves you.
If you want to be served by him now, today, every day, come and worship him, just as the Magi did. Because in worship God wants to give you gifts, gifts that refresh you, gifts that say you are forgiven for what you have done wrong and for what you haven’t done. Come to worship and receive absolution for your sins. Come hear his word, be fed by his message of love, be fed with his message that you are forgiven. Be fed with what he wants from you and what he wants to give you. Come spend time with him in prayer. Come bring your friends, your neighbors, your enemies, your work mates so that they can join God’s family through baptism. And so they can experience the heaven feast with you. Come experience his love, his grace, his salvation come to worship and receive Holy Communion, his body and blood, where you receive forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Come and be filled with the Holy Spirit. So that you sing a new song, you reflect his love his kindness. So that you remain his light to this world a world that needs his hope, his love, his forgiveness, the life that only he can offer. Come see the God who God shows us he is caring, he is an unselfish leader, who has come to be your servant. So you can enjoy your life forever on earth and in heaven.
This message by Rev. Richard Schwedes is brought to you by Grace Lutheran Church, Web and Park Street, Mountain View, Arkansas. For prayer or more information, contact Pastor Kenneth Taglauer by email: [email protected]. A Pass it On Project , You can read more at Sermon Central, “Come see the Servant King.”