This is a Different Kind of King
This is a Different Kind of King
Text: Philippians 2:5-11
Try to contain your disappointment and sadness. It was reported last year that since 2010 the total net worth of the world’s richest royals has been down nine percent. I know. It’s just horrible. But somehow they will survive. King Adulyadej of Thailand might make it somehow with his $30 billion net worth. So might the king of Saudi Arabia with $18 billion.
Maybe we should be concerned about a few others though? Prince Albert II of Monaco is only worth $1 billion. And Queen Elizabeth isn’t even a billionaire! She’s only worth $500 million! Then there is Spelling Manor, the 60,000 s.f. mansion in California that only sold for $85 million when it had been listed at $150 million. Wow the economy is bad! Ok, maybe we aren’t too concerned about these things.
We’ve become used to this though. When you have power, you flaunt it. People serve you and wait on your beck and call. When you have money you spend it like it is burning a hole in your pocket. (It will be interesting to see which of the three Mega Millions lottery winners loses all their winnings first.) When you are popular you use your influence for benefit and gain and more profit. Whether you are a celebrity, an athlete, a politician, or a ruler, and whether you are in America or any other country on the planet, when you have power, authority, and wealth you use it, you flaunt it, and you love it.
Shame on them! But how quickly those of influence affect us “common people.” We might not own a fleet of vehicles or boats and we might not have influence over an entire generation like a celebrity or over an entire country like a president or king. But we very easily slide into the bad habits of the powerful, rich, and famous. See, these aren’t just actions of the powerful, rich, and famous. These are the habits of all people—the evil, rebellious, and sinful.
Don’t you like power too? Doesn’t it feel so good when you are right and someone else is wrong? Especially when it is your spouse! Doesn’t it feel so good to rub it in someone’s face a little bit? “I know something. You don’t. I’m smart. You’re not. I’m important. You’re not. I matter. You don’t.”
What a rush of power! So we get in arguments until we get our way or prove we are right. Even if we are right, who wants to be patient and listen to another point of view? We get angry and upset with those who don’t see it our way. We hold sins over other’s heads and we are slow to forgive. Ah! What power!
And don’t you like riches too? Doesn’t it feel so good when you have some extra money? When you get that kickback from the government? When you are able to go on an extra little vacation? When you buy the latest techie toy or a new car?
So what if you aren’t saving carefully for the future? So what if you cheated the government a bit? They owe it to you and taxes aren’t fair anyways, right? So what if you aren’t giving to the needy? There’s a food bank in Bunnel. So what if you aren’t giving your best to God? At least you give something on a regular basis? The school’s pretty successful. That will carry the weight. Or maybe someone will give us a big $50,000 gift again. God can do anything, and he can certainly do it without my money!
Oh, yes! Doesn’t it feel good to build our own versions of lifestyles of the rich and famous? Maybe we aren’t celebrities, but if we have enough junk in our homes maybe we’ll convince ourselves that we feel like we are celebrities.
And don’t you like fame, too? Maybe you’ll never have your face on the magazines on the rack at Walmart, but you will be famous one way or another. Doesn’t it feel good to talk to your good friends about other people’s business here at church? I mean, can you believe that he would do that? Doesn’t it feel good to be the source of all information and juicy gossip? Everyone texts or Emails you for the news! You get tagged in more pictures on Facebook then anyone else! Doesn’t it feel good when you are built up and others are put down? Doesn’t it feel good to have fame!
You might have a net worth of $30 billion like King Adulyadej of Thailand, or you might have a net worth of $30. It doesn’t really matter. All humans find themselves at the center of the universe. All humans serve their own needs first. All humans look to puff themselves up and put others down. Because you see, all of us humans are sinful.
How our “me-centered” universe comes crashing down as we listen to the words of the apostle Paul this morning! “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
Some royalty, athletes, and celebrities think they are God’s gift to mankind. Sometimes we act like we are God’s gift to this world. Then there is Jesus. He is God. He always has been. He always will be. Yet he did not lord that over us. He did not compel all human beings to worship him like mindless robots. He did not even blast humans into oblivion for our sins like he could have and like we deserve.
Instead, though “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” The God who fills the universe and is at all places at all times, deemed it necessary to take on human likeness and live in the world that he created.
And more than that, he even made himself nothing by taking on the very nature and form of a servant. He certainly could have used a little divine power to turn manger straw into a king size pillow top mattress manger. Wouldn’t it have been nice not to walk all over Judea and just fly everywhere like superman? Why fast in the wilderness 40 days and 40 nights? He certainly could have turned stones to bread like Satan tempted him to. Wouldn’t it have felt good to open up the ground and swallow up the Pharisees when they sassed back and rejected him? Maybe a chariot of gold and a valiant steed would have been nicer than a donkey on Palm Sunday? Or no, wait. He’s God. He could have rolled in on a tank made out of rhodium or platinum on Palm Sunday!
We might have liked to use a divine nature for such advantages. But Jesus did not. He spent time with the poor. He talked to and touched the blind and deaf and lepers. He ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He had a rag-tag crew of fishermen and sinners as his followers. He allowed children and commoners to shout his praises and welcome him with coats on the ground and palm branches. Then four days later he even tied his outer garment around his waist, stooped down, and washed the stinky, dirty feet of those disciples. Yuck! But he still wasn’t done in his humility!
He was obviously still God. He did miracles. So for how long would he set aside the constant use of his power? How far would he go? How humble could he be? This humble (verse 8): “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
He was betrayed by his friend, falsely accused, and wrongfully tried. But he didn’t hire the best defense attorney money could buy. He stood silent before his accusers. He didn’t cry out to human activists as he was beaten and bloodied. He still remained silent. And rather than calling down legions of angels to annihilate the world, he humbled himself and became obedient to death. Not any old death, but the most wretched, shameful, and cursed way one could die—death on a cross!
It is said by the Roman historian Cicero that Romans didn’t even crucify other Romans that often. They saved it for the Jews who were appalled by the public exposure to death and bloodshed. The Romans knew it was written in the Old Testament that anyone hung on a tree is cursed. It is even still a wretched death today. Ask someone who lived in the ‘60s in the South what it’s like to see a body hung in a tree. Watch The Passion of the Christ and see if you won’t shudder and wince. The most gruesome, grotesque, and humble of deaths—a death on a cross!
All that power. All that divinity. He owned it all and ruled it all because he made it all. Fully God, yet he became fully human. He became fully a servant. He was fully obedient to his heavenly Father. So much so that he even obeyed the most severe of punishments and consequences—he became obedient to death on a cross.
All this . . . because he loves you. All this . . . to forgive you. All this . . . that you might not be humiliated forever in hell but instead will be glorified forever in heaven. Yes, This is a Different Kind of King!
The humility and nature of a servant did not last forever though. Oh no. The humble crucifixion, death, and burial were the end of the humiliation and the serving. Three days later, because of his conquering of death and payment for sins, Jesus began to show us again why This is a Different Kind of King! Verse 9: “Therefore (because Jesus did all this) God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
People of this world grapple and grasp for power, riches, and fame. Kings, politicians, and presidents try to exercise whatever authority they think they have. Roll out the red carpet! Call the paparazzi! Pop the champagne!
But they all are nothing when compared to Jesus. God exalted him to the highest place as Jesus rose triumphant from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now sits on his throne in everlasting glory.
God also gave him the name that is above every name. Now today many, we believers included, join in bowing our knees and confessing with our tongues that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. But one day soon everyone—be they saints and angels in heaven, believers and unbelievers on earth, or even the devil, the demons, and the damned in hell—all on the Last Day will bow before Jesus and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and will give glory to God the Father.
This is a Different Kind of King! He is a King that loved us enough to set aside the full use of his power and humbled himself to live and die for our sins. But he is also a King that triumphed over sin and death and now reigns forever.
So now this different kind of King gives us a different kind of attitude. Paul says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” Why do we need power? Why do we need to win arguments and “be right” and feel special? Why do we need to hoard money and possessions and knick knacks? Why do we need to spread rumors and gossip and put others down to make ourselves feel better? Those sins have been forgiven! We’ve been given a new life of peace and joy! We now have a Savior that will motivate and Savior to emulate. As he humbled himself, we humble ourselves. As he loved, we will love. As he was finally exalted and glorified, when this life is over we will be exalted and glorified. This different kind of a King gives us a different kind of attitude!
This is a Different Kind of King! This is a King that we march behind with palm branches today. This is a King that we will follow to the Upper Room, then to Pilate’s Inner Room, then up to Calvary. This is a King that rides on, rides on in majesty in lowly pomp rides on to die. This is a King whom we will weep for on Good Friday. But this is also a King whom we will exult on Easter morning. This is a triumphant and victorious King. This is our Redeemer King. This is our Savior King. This is our eternal King. Yes, This is a Different Kind of King. This is Christ the King. This is our King.
Posted on April 1, 2012, in Church, Sermons and tagged Christ, Christ the King, Church, Exinanition, Exultation, Exultation of Christ, Humiliation, Humiliation of Christ, Jerusalem, Jesus, King, King Adulyadej, Palm Sunday, Philippians, Philippians 2, Prince Albert II, Queen Elizabeth, Sedes, Sedes Doctrinae, Sermons, Spelling Manor, Thailand. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.