An Unlikely King

Pause: Isaiah 11:1-9, Isaiah 53, Psalms 24

Have you ever met someone who turned out to be someone unexpected? Growing up, my family had a friend who could be described as “interesting.” I remember his longish hair and big round sunglasses, his crazy ideas and infectious laugh, his small house on property, and his parenting style, which allowed for his barefoot kiddos to run around their property, wrestle goats, and jump off their second-story deck with their tree swing for a good time. He and his family seemed to step right out of a hillbilly movie with hippie garb and decor added to the look. Just looking at our friend you would never have guessed that he was a brilliant engineer, who made millions in the startup world. He was not someone you would have expected to have a disciplined math mind and lots of money. But looks can be deceiving.

The people of Israel had long awaited their Messiah and thought they knew what He would look and act like. Yet, when Jesus came, He surprised many people, for He was not who or what they expected. They thought the Messiah would come as Immaunel with power and might, demanding allegiance to eventually overthrow Rome and rule the world. They expected Him to bring much-needed justice, and yet He came as a tender shoot without beauty or majesty and said His kingdom was not of this world. He displayed gentleness and patience toward the sinners around Him and asked people to submit to and pray for their oppressors. The long-awaited Messiah came as an unexpected King, One who turned the world upside down with a kingdom that seems completely backward to the world we live in — love your enemies, lead by serving others, associate with those who are not like you, love and serve others instead of yourself. Looks can indeed be deceiving.

Ponder: What images come to mind when you think of a king? Are they images of a king who you would want to live under and serve? How does the Bible describe Jesus as King? What makes Jesus a more perfect King that of our earthly ones?

Pray: Father, I confess that I often have an idea in my mind of what You should be like, who You should be, and what You should do in my life. Instead, may I spend more time in Your Word and have eyes to see and a tender heart to learn more about who You really are as my Lord and King. Amen.

— Jamie Harms