Moses didn’t just stand up on the mountain to give the law. He sat with the people and took on the burden of hearing and judging their individual cases. When God was angry with the sin of the people, Moses  prayed that God would blot him out of His book rather than destroy the people. The blessing that he speaks to Israel at the end of his life has a strong militaristic thread running through it which is an encouragement and anticipation of the victories that would soon be won as they began their conquest of the promised land (Craigie).

We see the apostles also, and especially Paul, caring greatly for those over whom they have been given charge. Paul, when he left the Ephesians, said to them, “Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.” To the Colossians he wrote, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”

Peter Leithart points out that, “John is intensely interested in the doings of individuals and congregations, just as Paul was.” He says, “John is not content with speaking to crowds, not content to preach from a safe distance. He also encourages, rebukes and exhorts individuals. He addresses the church as a whole as ‘beloved’ (1 John), professes his love for the chosen Lady (2 John), and also addresses the individual Gaius as ‘beloved’ (3 John). His love for the church is general, but it is also personal and specific. He is not one with only a catholic love for the church, but no concern with the particular persons who make up the church. He serves the church by serving individuals and congregations; he serves individuals and congregations by serving the universal church.”

This, of course, all points to Christ, the Good Shepard who lays down his life for the sheep. He said, “He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”




4 responses to “Servant-kings”

  1. Robert Murphy Avatar

    It’s a lot like the Van Tillian solution to the One-Many Problem: “Yes”.

    1. Joshua Avatar

      I have not yet read any Van Til. Tell me more about this.

      1. Robert Murphy Avatar

        In philosophy, there is a over-arching problem: if we can simplify things enough such that we can come up with a single explanation for everything, then aren’t we glossing over enough of the differences so as to make the one thing totally useless? However, if we fail to do, then we are buried in the avalanche of unending differences in everything we behold. Secular philosophy is currently enamored with a so-called middle ground: there is no big idea and we just need to dialogue are way through and ceaseless sea of almost-big-enough-ideas.
        Van Til’s solution was to say that both are equally ultimate, that God is one and God is three. Everything ultimately boils down to originating in the mind of God, but God is community. Unity and Multiplicity are both “top level”.

        In our day, when many people are offering good correctives to the ludicrously individualistic society in which we live, they often turn to collectivism as the solution. God is a collective and yet God is one. He loves us as the Body and as individuals. We are not forced to choose because of his essential nature. The Trinity pervades reality.

        1. Joshua Avatar

          The Trinity pervades reality.

          Excellent. Thank you.