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A King in Disguise

Why did Jesus come in such a humble manner? Why was it necessary for the divine to come to earth?


Photo credit: Lawrence OP (cc)

An advent parable, A King in Disguise, written by Soren Kierkegaard (modified) gives us some insight:

“Once upon a time, there was a prince who was single and very eager to marry a lovely maiden for his future queen. Near his palace was a large city, and often he rode his carriage down to the city to take care of various chores for his father. One day, to reach a particular merchant, he had to go through a rather poor section. He happened to glance out of the window and right into the eyes of a beautiful maiden.

“He had occasion on the next few days to return to the section of the city–drawn as he was by the eyes of the maiden. And more than that, he had the good fortune once or twice actually to meet this young girl. Soon he began to feel that he was in love with her. But now he had a problem. How should he proceed to procure her hand?

“Of course, he could order her to the palace and there propose marriage. But even a prince would like to feel that the girl he marries wants to marry him. Or perhaps, somewhat more graciously, he could arrive at her door in his most resplendent uniform and, with a bow, ask her hand. But even a prince wants to marry for love.

“Again, he could masquerade as a peasant and try to gain her interest. After he proposed, he could pull off his ‘mask.’ Still, the masquerade would be ‘phony.’ He really could not manage it.

“Finally a real solution presented itself to his mind. He would give up his kingly role and move into her neighborhood. There he would take up work as, say, a carpenter. During his work in the day and during his time off in the evening, he would get acquainted with the people, begin to share their interests and concerns, begin to talk their language. And in due time, should fortune be with him, he would make her acquaintance in a natural way. And should she come to love him, as he had already come to love her, then he would ask for her hand.

“Over time, she did fall in love with the carpenter. She adored him. She believed in all of her heart that he was poor, simple, and common, and she loved him like that. And so, one day he proposed marriage, and she accepted. He still didn’t tell her he was a prince, a soon-to-be king. He simply told her to put on a beautiful dress, and on a particular day, he would come and pick her up, and then he would take her to the wedding. He would take care of all the details and surprise her.

“So she was there with her family and her friends, and an army of chariots and soldiers and banners and musicians – thousands upon thousands, showed up. They picked up this girl from the poor section of town, and they carried right through the palace gates – trumpets blaring, right down the aisle.

“Seated on the throne, she saw the prince, her soon-to-be husband. She got off of her chariot. She walked up to the prince and he told her, ‘I wanted you to love me not because I was going to be king, but I wanted you to love me simply for the sake of loving me. Then I could show you that I was the soon-coming king, and I would know that your love for me would always be true.’”

God did the same thing for us. He came in an unexpected way, a humble, simple, regular, normal way – as a regular guy, from a regular town, with a regular mom and a regular dad, living a regular life but being God. The world did not recognize him and rejected him. “He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” (John 1:10-11)

They said, “We are waiting for a king.” Jesus says,

I am a king, and if you love me, I’ll take you to the palace, but love Me first.”

He loves you and He wants your love, but freely and voluntarily. He could have ordered you to love Him but is that love? He could have appeared to you in kingly glory. Who would not be awed by such splendor? He wanted to win your love without dazzling and overwhelming you with the magnificence of His divinity. Paul writes “…though he was by nature God, [He] did not consider being equal with God a thing to be clung to, but emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave, and being made like unto men. And appearing in the form of man he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).

The world says, “We will not marry a common, poor, simple Jesus. We are waiting for someone better.”

Then he rose from the dead. What a King! God meets you on your level that you might respond freely to His love.

Christmas is a great time to respond to His love. Will you give a wholehearted response to His love this Christmas season? Will you commit yourself to the King? Share your comments below.