A reporter once did a piece on what it was like for Truman when he left office, for Eisenhower when he went back to his farm at Gettysburg, for Johnson when he went back to his ranch in Texas, for Nixon when he resigned in disgrace, for Ford who barely got a chance at it, for Carter who cried on the plane when returning to his peanut farm in Georgia, for Reagan, Bush, Clinton and so on.
The reporter portrayed the let-down, quite unlike any other, when leaving the office of the American presidency, arguably the most powerful position on earth.
No more “Hail to the Chief” every time you enter a public gathering. No more Air Force One – what a plane! No helicopter on the grounds which takes off immediately – no delays. Secret service protection gets trimmed back. No more valets, butlers and personal attendants.
When George Bush the elder woke up the morning after leaving the presidency, he sat up in bed waiting for his coffee to be brought with the morning paper. Wife Barbara reminded him to get up and get it himself.
Imagine what it must be like to be riding that high, to have every TV network break into their programming because you want to say something – and then to go back to a ranch or a peanut farm.
All of this is nothing compared to what our Savior did for you and me. On this Palm Sunday, at the start of another Holy Week, we take comfort in the selfless sacrifice of Him who is both God and Man, who was exalted and yet humbled Himself for our sakes. Think of the heavenly glory He chose to leave behind. The King of kings laid aside His royal robes, stepped into the sandals of a slave, and rode into enemy territory on a beast of burden on Palm Sunday.
No one waited on Him. Instead, He got down on His hands and knees and washed the dirty feet of His disciples in the upper room.
He turned down the help of twelve legions of heaven’s secret service when evil men arrested Him on Maundy Thursday.
He allowed puny men to torture and assassinate Him on Good Friday.
“Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek and lowly,” said the prophet. And yet, unlike presidents who leave behind the power and trappings of their powerful office, the Servant King not only humbled Himself to save us. He was also exalted again to the right hand of the Father to take up again the full and continuous use of all His divine powers. He not only died. He rose again. He not only was buried in the dark of the grave. He ascended high above all heavens to fill the whole universe, says the Bible, to stand at our elbow each day.
Our Servant King stooped to conquer our worst enemies. It is fair to ask: Who now sits on the throne of your heart and mine?