A Lowly, Humble King
And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.” Matthew 25. 31-46
Years ago we attended a church that had an outreach program called Matthew 25, self explanatory if you know this passage well. It taught me well that caring for the needy was the crux of the Gospel message. Lest you mistake the meaning of this Sunday designated as Christ the King Sunday, it is not about lauding Christ as a great and powerful king, but instead as a humble and lowly king who associates himself with the naked, hungry, sick and orphaned stranger.
In her message today, Diana Butler Bass who was raised by evangelicals to be a missionary, spreading the message of Jesus to save people from damnation, tells a story about discovering Jesus in her efforts as a missionary, not in her work or in her preaching, but instead in the stranger she served. She says,
"I had not brought Jesus to anyone. Instead, my wheelchair-bound, elderly host had brought Jesus to me. His reading the Bible aloud in Dutch invited my heart to be cleansed along with the kitchen. There was something of me that got saved in the process, not the other way around."
We would be well served to see Jesus in the stranger rather than pointing to the Jesus in ourselves. This passage is yet another example of the upside down-ness of the life of Christ...God made man come to be one of the least of us so that we might learn to see him in all strangers and not just those who look like us.