The Servant King

Exploring who Jesus is and what it means to trust him.


I love the song The Servant King, by Graham Kendrick. It’s a song from my childhood that lodged itself deep in my heart the way only those childhood songs can. It is both mysterious and comforting to me as a concept. It subverts many of my instinctive castings of him either as disappointed teacher or disciplinarian, or just as quite distant or unreal. It upsets the power dynamic between us and disarms me. It was this song that came to mind as I sat down to draw and so I sang and played it over as I sketched.

This picture felt like blasphemy as it came into my mind and I hesitated, but drew it anyway, and let it take me wherever it would. Afterwards I looked at this picture and sang this song and tried to sit in the feeling of discomfort that it stirred up in me. Why does this Biblical description and image of Jesus feel so intensely wrong and dangerous for me. Why does the idea of Jesus washing my feet fill me with shame and horror.


A while ago I drew this picture of Jesus’ face. I wanted to draw love and grace there, but instead what emerged was disdain and disappointment. This is the Jesus I am comfortable with. It breaks my heart, but it’s what I think I deserve, and what I fear I will find if I ever were to look him in the face.


The song finishes with a verse encouraging us to be like our Servant King; to serve each other as he serves us, which is good and beautiful, but I felt like it was missing out our personal response to him. Peter is horrified when he realises Jesus is going to wash his feet, and then when Jesus tells him that to be with him he must allow Jesus to serve him, he wants Jesus to wash all of him. He is struggling with how to respond to this humiliating act of service from his King, and with how to accept it.

For me right now, the challenge isn’t wanting to be like Jesus and serve others, it’s how on earth to accept Jesus serving me. I wrote a new verse and chorus to the song to try and help me.

So let us learn to be served
and in our lives, receive from him
Into his hands place our fears
For it is Christ we’re trusting in

This is our God, the Servant King
He calls us now to rest in him
To trust our lives as a daily offering
of worship to the Servant King.


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