A Kingdom of Care
“Come, Lord Jesus. Come”. This is the great prayer of Advent. We hear the prophet proclaim, “See your King come to you, gentle and riding on a donkey” and with this promise, we will be carried to Christmas. With this promise we yearn for this ruler who is unlike the rulers we so often experience in the world of human sin and greed.
The most profound description of the way that “King Jesus” rules over us, is discovered in the parable of the “sheep and the goats” in Matthew 25. The parable begins with a description of “the Son of Man” coming in his glory and sitting on his throne. This is the clue that we are about to learn about the kingdom of “Jesus the King”.
In the parable, we hear the words of the King speaking to the “righteous.” He says, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Straightaway we hear that this kingdom is about people and their needs. This kingdom is not about wealth and power over others. This kingdom is about seeing with God’s eyes – seeing vulnerable and needy people in various situations, in need of hope and good life – in need of love and care.
What is most extraordinary is the surprising image that the King gives when he says, “I was in need … and you served me.” Those who hear these words of the King wonder when they actually served the King in this way. The King answers, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
The people didn’t go out of their way to earn the favour of the King, through serving others. They served others and discovered that they had been caught up in the ways of this new kingdom. This is what the word of God does to the human heart. It creates a clean heart within us and puts a new and right spirit within us. God rules in this world and our lives. The people in the parable discovered that they were caught up in the ways of this new kingdom, often without realising it. This is great encouragement for any Christian who wonders if God is actually at work in and through them.
One final message of this “King Jesus” from this parable. When we learn his “ways” from Matthew 25, we are also learning his heart for us. When we hunger, he feeds us. When we thirst, he gives us drink. When we feel like a stranger, he welcomes us. When we feel naked, he clothes us. When we are sick, he tends for us. When we are in any kind of prison, he is with us.
King Jesus does this out of his great love for us.
King Jesus”, come into this weary world. Oh how we long for you, to come, Lord. Come.
“May God guide you and your loved ones through these coming weeks of Advent. If you have never used an Advent Calendar, then I invite you to try one this year. If you have one stashed away, then I invite you to bring it out to guide your soul and anyone else in your household to the Christmas manger of our gracious King.
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