By CCCNZ Ambassador Mark Grace
I've come to cherish HM Queen Elizabeth II deeply. I’ve cried a lot today at the news of her death, aged 96. I cherished the Queen because she knew Jesus as the King of Kings, and he knows her.
In a beautiful short booklet about the Queen's faith called The Queen’s Way (which you can read here), Mark Greene writes:
“Almost every time the Queen speaks about her faith she relates it directly to Jesus. And she is effusive in her appreciation. He is ‘the bedrock of my faith’ (2014), ‘an inspiration and an anchor in my life’ (2014), and ‘the compelling example’ (1978)".
In her 2012 Christmas Address, Queen Elizabeth said:
"This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served'. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ".
The Queen was quoting Jesus’ words from Mark 10:45: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many".
Behind this verse is the reality that God sends his son. The son comes as fully God and fully man. He comes as a servant, and he comes as a sacrifice. The creator of the universe comes as a man—not to be served but to serve the lost, the least, and the last. The one who spoke the cosmos into existence comes not in power (as the Romans understood it), but in weakness.
King Jesus comes, not only as a servant, but as a substitutionary sacrifice to stand in our place and pay the price for our sin. The second person of the Godhead comes to give his life at the cross as a ransom for many.
In The Cross of Christ John Stott writes:
“God could quite justly have abandoned us to our fate. He could have left us alone to reap the fruit of our wrongdoing and to perish in our sins. It is what we deserved. But he did not. Because he loved us, he came after us in Christ. He pursued us even to the desolate anguish of the cross, where he bore our sins, guilt, judgement and death".
Jesus' coronation was a cross. His crown was thorns. His subjects are sadists; and yet he gave himself for us.
In the sadness of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, in the sadness of reflecting on the profound implications of her passing for her family, for the UK, for the Commonwealth, and the West... I take great solace in King Jesus.
Let us continue in the example of Queen Elizabeth and point people to Jesus where and when we are given platform and privilege. Let's pray for her whānau and for her country as they grieve and mark the end of a significant season and a special woman.
Let's take comfort in her King Jesus.
The King who saves nobility and nobodies. The King who came as a servant and a sacrifice. The King who dealt with our sin and the reality of evil in the world. The King who reigns now and forevermore. The King whose sacrifice for us has transformed us—the King who will return.