Graham Kendrick Hymn: The Servant King.

Graham Kendrick Hymn:  The Servant King.

Reading the inspirational words of the hymn writers from the past, never fails to bless me. To start, let us consider the following words that reflect the devotional heart of Graham Kendrick, written a little more than a decade ago:

From Heaven you came, helpless babe
Entered our world, your glory veiled
Not to be served but to serve
And give your life that we might live

This is our God, The Servant King
He calls us now to follow him
To bring our lives as a daily offering
Of worship to The Servant King

There in the garden of tears
My heavy load he chose to bear
His heart with sorrow was torn
‘Yet not my will but yours’, he said

Come see His hands and His feet
The scars that speak of sacrifice
Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered

So let us learn to serve
And in our lives enthrone Him
Each other’s needs to prefer
For it is Christ we’re serving

(Extra section added 2013)
We bring our lives to you
A sacrifice for you
Given love so true
We are changed, renewed

This enigmatic and profound hymn encapsulates the very essence and mission of Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, who became One with us in sharing in our humanity. The ‘helpless babe’ was born into a sinful world to redeem humans and bring us back to Him.

Christ was indeed a King, and far more besides, but he came to serve in humility, preferring the needs of others rather than his own, and to demonstrate how Christians should not only conduct themselves in life, but reflect the love and kindness of God by obeying His word.

The song references Christ’s wounds, ‘Come see His hands and His feet’, speaking of the Messiah’s crucifixion. Christ’s death on the cross was for our sins and how through Him, we are forgiven through repentance and faith in Him. It is through this glorious gift of faith that we enter into a new relationship with God and begin life anew.

What virtues can be gleaned from this powerful and emotive hymn?

Humility and obdience
Hope and redemption
Hospitality and welcome
The call to follow Christ.

One of the most powerful lyrics in the song is where it describes God ‘flinging stars into space’ yet to ‘cruel nails’ he surrendered, referencing the divine nature of Christ, and at the same time, his suffering for our sins.

We must come before God as a ‘a daily offering’ where we can be an instrument of His love and mercy, and to understand who we are worshipping and why we worship, Jesus Christ as the only way to God. We must be an example for others, so that they may know the powerful God we serve and His love for the world. To enter into the truth of God’s word is a most powerful, loving, and beneficial act and relationship that any human being can ever have with God.

On a personal level, this song reminds me of a time when I attended a church in the town of Bewdley, near Kidderminster. I used to attend this Baptist church when I was a young man in the 80s and I had attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Birmingham. My mum and dad used to accompany me to this House of God, where ‘The Servant King’ was a hymn we often sang at church.

The concept of a ‘servant king’ is a recurring theme in the Bible, appearing in both the Old and New Testament. Several passages are considered key to understanding our Lord, where each one offers different facets of his identity and role. Here are some important examples:

Old Tesatement – Isaiah 53:

Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord
been revealed?
He grew up like a tender shoot
and like a root out of a dry ground,
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to
him,
nothng in appearance that we should desire him,
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, familiar with pain,
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised and we held him in low esteem

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities
the punishment that brought us peace was
on him,
and by his wounds, we are healed.
we are like sheep, that have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and
cause him to suffer,
and the Lord makes his life an
offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his
days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper his hand.

After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and and be satisfied
by his knowledge, my righteous servant will
justify many
and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among
the great,
and he will divide the spoils
with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

New Testament – Phillipians 2-5-11:

Let the same mind be in you that was in
Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likenes.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death-
even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that in the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and earth and under the
earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

So, the above verses speak eloquently about the concept of a servant king. The Old Testament verse speaks of the coming Messiah and what his mission on earth will be. In contrast, the New Testament verse talks about the aftermath of Christ being on earth, speaking of how to remember Jesus’ example and act upon it in word and deed.

I cannot say for sure, whether the above verses inpspired Graham Kendrick. However, ‘The Servant King’ has become the personification of all of the above, and far more.

God bless you,

Nick x.

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