[June 9]--Service With A Smile, Part Two

Mark 10:35-45

Yesterday we focused on the brothers’ request for an exalted place in Christ’s coming Kingdom. We also saw the Master’s response, namely that they didn’t understand what being in Christ’s Kingdom is all about. Believers naturally like to focus on the Crown that awaits us, but we always like to forget that the Cross comes first. No cross, no crown.

But then Jesus expands on this concept of what the Kingdom entails and goes beyond it. He tells us a lot about himself and a lot about us.

We’re going to look at this in the opposite order in which he does. He talks first about us as his followers and uses himself as the basis for what he wants to see in us. Instead, we’re going to look at Christ first and then what we’re supposed to do and be in response.

What does this passage tells us about our Lord? It tells us three basic things about him, and each deserves a sermon on its own.

First, Christ tells us that he didn’t come in order to be served. He certainly deserved to be. If all the kings of the world came to him, threw all their gold at his feet and swore 100% allegiance to him, that would still be far less than he deserved. If he lived in the grandest palace that man could build, that would be beneath his worth. If he had any worldly pleasure immediately at his beck and call, he'd still not be getting all that he was owed.

But he wasn’t served. He had the adulation of the crowds at certain times, but he wasn’t really served by them. He had some followers who pledged obedience to him, but their service was mighty fickle, and they were just a handful. During most of his life, most everybody passed by him and didn’t give him a second glance.

Second, we’re told that he came to serve. Those crowds that we just mentioned? They weren’t there to serve him. They came expecting things. They had sick people, they had hungry people, they had lonely people. And Jesus gladly gave them what they needed. He gladly gave of himself to them, to the point of metaphorical and literal exhaustion. He gave until--in his humanity--he didn’t have anything more to give, and then he gave a little bit more.

The third point is actually not really a separate point but the ultimate example of the second. What was the ultimate example of his service to us? You probably knew the answer to that already, but just in case you weren’t clear on it, he tells us. In fact, this is the main reason he came: “to give his life as a ransom for many.” We were all captives to the Enemy of our souls. Just a reminder: We put ourselves in this mess. We were under the Father’s wrath. We owed an eternal debt we could never pay. And he paid it. Just so we’re clear—The ransom analogy is not a perfect one, since the debt was not paid to Satan. But Jesus did pay the price to the Father so that we could be reclaimed by him.

So we know the “what.” Now we come to the “so what?” Jesus was not giving a theology lesson, or if he was it’s a very practical one. Jesus gave up heaven and all the rights and privileges of being the Son of God. He “made himself nothing. . .taking the very nature of a servant.” So what does this mean for us?

It means that we ultimately have no rights. None. If Jesus, the very Son of the Most High, gave up all that  he did, what right do we have to cling to our honor, any privileges we have? If I’m called to scrub toilets, then I still haven’t been called upon to humble myself nearly as much as my Savior was. The thought “I deserve better than this” should be squelched immediately whenever it surfaces.

Or to put it more positively, the way to advance in this Kingdom is to go downward. Unlike the business and political world, here we’re supposed to claw our way to the bottom. No place is too humble for a blood-bought child of God.

The Lord Jesus is not only our Savior but our prime Example as well. He was perfectly willing to leave behind what he deserved. It looks to me that I need a major overhaul in my perspective and attitude. How about you?

Lord Jesus, I fall so far short of who I need to be. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be the man I am now. Fill me with your Spirit, with your attitude. I want to grow up to be just like you, please.

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