Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

10/04/2017

Randall Caselman

Kingdom Greatness

 

Go with me to downtown Jerusalem, an upper room, the atmosphere is charged with anticipation; excitement fills the room. The whole week has been exciting. It began with the triumphant entry into Jerusalem with people singing: “Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” "Blessed is the King of Israel!” Those who had witnessed the raising of Lazarus were still testifying about this miraculous event; as a result many Jews were believing in Jesus. Even the Greeks came wanting to know about this One called Jesus, the Christ. And now here we are, ready for the Passover meal. The Apostles thought something special was about to happen. Two of them, along with their mother, had asked for places of authority, positions of political clout, in this new kingdom. Luke gives us some insight: He tells us there was bickering around the table that night as to who was greatest in the kingdom. Everybody in the room was looking for a throne, except the King! Jesus picks up a towel, the washbasin, and became a servant. God is a servant! “God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son.”

 

That night, Jesus commissions his disciples, including us, on Kingdom Greatness. Are we listening? Or, do we continue to think with our western culture mentality? Jesus maintained Kingdom Greatness was found in serving others, not ruling others, not in having authority, not in being in control: “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you… Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13.14-17).

 

Kingdom Greatness, Servanthood, requires a shift in our thinking, a new attitude. If we are to be a servant, we must think like a servant. I like how the New Century Version translates Numbers 14.24, God speaking to Caleb, and is found saying: “My servant Caleb thinks differently and follows Me completely.” Scripture tells us that King Amaziah lost favor with God because he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a true heart. God wants us to have a servant heart. Are we listening? Really? You see, these verses tell us that God is as interested in why we do something as in what we do. Keeping His commandments without a pure heart has no blessing. We are to serve others because He served, and because we are told to develop His heart, mind, attitude, disposition, and behavior. Philippians 2.5.

 

Biblical servanthood begins with humility. Real servanthood is self-forgetful. Pride inhibits servanthood. Humility enables servanthood. Paul brings this humility to the forefront in Philippians, chapter two: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2.3-8).

 

Servants know who they are. John 13.3 reads: "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round Him.” (John 13.3-5). Jesus knew who He was, and His purpose in the world. Here it is! I have found that people who do not know who they are want to be in control, they are continually scrambling for thrones, looking for preeminence, and an affirmation of greatness.

 

Servants are ready to serve: Anybody, anytime. Jesus washed the feet of those who didn’t deserve having their feet washed: Peter, Judas, Thomas, to name three. Jesus was not prejudiced in His serving, neither should we be!

 

"Make me a servant: Lord, make me like You.

For You are a servant, make me one too.

Make me a servant, do what You must do.

For You are a servant: Lord, make me like You."

 

Church, can I ask some questions? Sobering questions?

 

• Can we sing this song with integrity?

 

• Do we really feel comfortable asking God to do what He must do to make us like Jesus?

 

• What if He did?

 

• Just how important is servanthood?

 

• Is it a salvational issue?

 

“As often as you did it to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me.”

 

“The greatest in the kingdom is the one who serves."

—Randall Caselman