This post is written by Katie Orr as a companion for Unit 27, Session 3 of The Gospel Project for Adults, Volume 9: From Death to Resurrection (Fall 2023).
The British House of Windsor and other such noble families conform to hard-held traditions and a long list of expectations. This is especially true for the sovereign, who views himself or herself as the divinely chosen ruler. A good monarch takes regal roles seriously. There are great internal and external pressures for their actions, words, and attitudes to conform to that of a royal.
Over the last century, many scandals and tribulations were endured by the House of Windsor. Interestingly, much of what has been deemed disgraceful for these kings, queens, princes, and princesses are allowed for the everyday commoner. This double standard magnifies the majesty and duty of the monarch. With great privilege and power comes great responsibility.
Just as there are still certain notions of what a king or queen should look and act like, there were also expectations of what to expect from a king in Jesus’s day—perhaps even more so then. The people of the time expected certain characteristics to be true of a royal. From their stature and how they carried themselves to their garb—every inch of a king exuded royalty.
But when it comes to God’s kingdom, outward regality is not always the case. So many people missed seeing Jesus for who He truly is: the ultimate King of kings. Jesus simply didn’t fit their idea of what a king should do and be. Many have described the kingdom of God as the upside-down kingdom. God’s standards do not always match up to earthly standards.
This is seen clearly through the birth account of Jesus. He was born to a poor, insignificant family in a stable filled with filth. The bearing and caring of the Christ-child was entrusted to two young parents with little to call their own. And the news of His birth was first announced to lowly shepherds.
The life of Jesus continued to prove plain and unremarkable. He was a typical guy from a small village who worked for a living just like everyone else. Ultimately, He was falsely convicted, shamefully crucified, and narrowly missed being buried in a criminal’s grave. Instead of donning golden crowns designed to display His splendor, He bore a crown of thorns meant to mock Him.
These upended ways of God are seen in the resurrection of Christ as well. His most victorious moment, when He rose from the grave, was accomplished without one human eye to witness it. The news of His resurrection was initially announced to lowly, brokenhearted women. The circulation of the greatest news to ever be given was entrusted first to two common Marys.
God’s ways are not our own. He has a perspective that surpasses ours. He is not bound by time or our earthy norms. Yet He is perfect in all His ways. So when things don’t look how we think they ought, perhaps we need to pause our presuppositions. When we find ourselves scratching our heads at what seems like a hair-brained plan, let’s choose to trust in the God who does not bend to the measures of man.
Katie Orr is the author of Secrets of the Happy Soul, seven FOCUSed15 Bible studies, and is the creator of the Bible Study Hub community, where women can receive training, encouragement, and accountability to enjoy God’s Word. Katie holds an MA in discipleship from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Chris, along with their three children, live in central Florida.