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True Greatness

St. Peter & St. John Lutheran Churches  
Evansville & Ruma, IL

Tue, Oct 10, 2006 

Once upon a time some church leaders fought amongst themselves.  They thought their preacher knew nothing about their argument.  He had said a few things earlier that they did not understand.  But they kept quiet because they were afraid what else He might say.  To take their mind off their problem with His Words, they started talking about their problems with each other.  Each tried to get the advantage over the other.  The congregation was tearing itself apart.

This story might be familiar to you because you have experienced it.  But those who know the Scriptures will also recognize it from Mark 9:30-37.  The church leaders are the Apostles.  Their preacher was Jesus.  We might be amazed that disciples in the presence of God would argue, yet we should be more amazed that we too try to gain control over others to serve our selfish ambitions - and pretend Jesus does not know.

The Lord defines greatness in terms of serving others, not being served.  He says, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (35). 

There is only One who served all people, even His enemies.  Hours before His death, He washed these squabbling Disciples' feet.  "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom" for your life and for mine (Mark 10:45) In service to the world, Jesus suffered and died to pay for all our selfish ambitions.

Only by Christ's grace did that congregation survive - and more than survive.  The Church grew as Christ's resurrection led the Apostles to serve one another.  And you receive their service as you hear the Scriptures they wrote and live in the Church built upon these apostles, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20). 

As the Cornerstone, the Lord remains the Servant.  This is a very good thing, because we still remain as confused about greatness and service as ever.  God delivers you from evil by bringing to you the benefits of His service upon the Cross.  He restores you to His Kingdom of grace - not because you serve Him, but in spite of the facts of your failure.  He wants you to have the forgiveness He won.  And so, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread…

Any and all material from me is free to be used without attribution.

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