Amongst all the negative press reports this past week one positive report stood out relating to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. As an act of grace, Queen Elizabeth has expressed her desire that when Charles accedes to the throne his wife Camilla will be known as Queen Consort. In other words, she will be addressed as Queen Camilla. This is quite a turnaround for Camilla who spent years being vilified as the other woman in Charles’ previous marriage to Diana. From being hated by the people she will one day be our queen.
That’s what is amazing about grace. It’s transformational, life-changing, placing you on a path you never thought you could walk. For those who don’t know what grace is, a simple definition is undeserved favour, in other words, you are given something for which you have no right.
There’s a wonderful story in the Bible about a man with a very strange name, although in fairness there are many of those. This man’s name was Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan and grandson of King Saul, the first king of Israel. Saul had made an enemy of David, a great hero in Israel because it was he who had defeated Goliath and avoided Israel’s defeat at the hands of the Philistines. When David later became king, Mephibosheth feared the worst. As a grandson of Saul, he assumed his life would be taken as David removed all potential enemies, but that’s not what happened. Jonathan, Saul’s son and Mephibosheth’s father had been a great friend of David’s and supported him against his father Saul. He had died, but David was keen to show kindness to someone from Jonathan’s family as a way of honouring his loyal friend and was told about Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth.
Something I haven’t yet mentioned is that Mephibosheth was disabled. He wasn’t born that way, it was the result of being dropped by his nurse which left him lame in both feet. That was enough to make him a lesser person. We might consider that to be shameful behaviour by his peers but many disabled people will tell you it’s the same today. They can receive very unfavourable treatment when it comes to finding employment, suitable accommodation, even going on holiday. This world is designed for the able-bodied not the disabled and we are slow to make appropriate changes. Mephibosheth would have been more fortunate than others as a grandson of Saul but still, he was a lesser person. This is the man who was brought to David.
Mephibosheth presented himself to David expecting the worst. He was the grandson of a ruthless king and why would David be any different? David was different though. This is what he said to a fearful Mephibosheth; “Don’t be afraid, for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” (1) Can you imagine what that meant to Mephibosheth? Instead of death, he’s promised a life beyond his wildest dreams, not just having lands and accompanying wealth, but the right to eat at the king’s table whenever he wanted. Mephibosheth replied, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” (2)
Jesus, the Son of God, is called the King of kings. Have you ever considered what you deserve from him? What have you ever done for him? How much time have you given him? When did you last honour him? The truth is that we are by nature his enemies so we don’t do things for him, we don’t give him our time and we don’t honour him. We are no different to those who called for him to be crucified 2000 years ago. Just like them, our attitude was one of rejection, but Jesus wants to show us kindness. In the most amazing act of grace ever known, he died for us. He did it to deal once and for all with our sins, and also to reconcile us to God. We may have rejected him but God still wants us and he gives us the offer to spend not just this life but eternity with him. That offer comes through an act of faith in Jesus. We are asked to believe that Jesus died for us and we are to commit ourselves to follow him. Another way of saying it is to say that we are asked to receive Jesus and the Bible says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (3) That’s a privilege greater than being Queen Consort or eating at a king’s table. This is the best thing that could happen to anyone, where once we were God’s enemies he welcomes us as his children. Amazing grace.
- 2 Samuel 9:7
- 2 Samuel 9:8
- John 1:129