September 21

John 13-15, Psalm 109

Many words lose their meaning over time due to bad examples. Jesus will show us in today's reading what it means to truly be a servant, as One who places Himself in the service of another, adopting a selfless position. All of our politicians are called public servants. They are voted into office to serve their constituents. Around 10 years ago, during the fight over Obamacare, a young physician that I knew from the state of Pennsylvania, after numerous attempts, finally was given a meeting with one of the U.S. Senators of that state. He felt passionate about the topic, had prepared diligently what message he wanted to convey before the meeting. Upon entering the room, when the 2 of them were alone, the Senator asked the young physician, what he had brought for him. He didn't understand what he was asking, so the Senator repeated himself. It then became obvious that what the Senator was looking for was money from the young physician to influence his decision and vote. When the young physician said that he brought no money with him, he was shown the door, without being allowed to even discuss his views that he had prepared. Unfortunately, no matter which side of the political aisle you are on, this is the reality of most of our public servants, who fleece their constituents rather than serve them.
 
We see in Jesus the example of the true servant. Realize Jesus is vested with the power of the universe, but used that power to serve. We read in John 13:2-5, "And supper being ended,..., rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded." Realize the washing of a guest's feet was a dirty task delegated to the lowest of servants in a household. He then goes on to explain His actions to His disciples in John 13:14-15, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." We read in Mark 10:45, Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." He describes the extent of his servanthood in John 15:12-13, "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."
 
If we could apply this example in every area of our lives, we would follow His example, and experience the joy He desires for us. In our marriages we are told to serve one another. Jesus, the Bridegroom, gave the ultimate example of this to us, His Bride which is His church (Ephesians 5:24-27, Revelation 19:7-9). In Hebrews 12:2, we read, "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,...". So why do so many marriages suffer and fail, even Christian marriages? Because each side rather than looking to selflessly serve the other looks to be served. We cannot outserve Jesus. Why are so many disgruntled at work, both employer and employee, even Christians? Because we seek to satisfy ourselves, rather than selflessly serve one another. Why are so many family's and friendships suffering, even among Christians? Because we expect something out of others, rather than selflessly serving. When Jesus was confronted by the disciples arguing as to who would be the greatest, he answered in Mark 9:35, "...If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." Jesus gives us the answer and the example of how to experience joyful relationships in every area of our lives. Adopt the role of a selfless servant, as He did, and we will experience inexpressible joy, much greater than anything the world offers or our flesh desires.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster