Gordon-Conwell Blog

Advent Devotional Day 5: Christ, the Servant King

December 07, 2017

2017 Gordon-Conwell Advent Devotional

Day 5 | Christ, the Servant King

Ezekiel 34:20-24


We sometimes hear that religion and politics must be kept separate. It is a principle that undergirds much public discourse in the United States. It is a conviction also of many within the American church, who suppose that scriptural teaching should not be brought to bear upon questions of politics. This is not a biblical conviction, however, as many of the inspired authors of Scripture invoked the truths of God to criticize or condemn contemporary political policies and practices. Many Messianic passages in the Old Testament depict the coming of the Son of David as a decidedly political event with consequences not only for our souls, but also for our politics and the shape of human society.  

One such passage is Ezekiel 34:20-24.  At the beginning of the chapter, the Lord excoriates the political leadership of Israel:


Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them (v 2-4).

Later we read a word of hope that God would one day reverse the circumstances that reigned in Israel at that time: “I will rescue my flock…And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them” (v 23). The Messiah will be the servant of others!

Abusive and self-serving governance has characterized many political leaders and institutions down to our own day. No small part of the hope of Christmas is that through the Messiah, God will firmly establish his own rule over the world, a rule that ministers to the weak and provides for every need in human society (Rev 22:1-5).

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      Dr. Gerry Wheaton
      Assistant Professor of New Testament


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