8/31/2022 0 Comments
The scribes and Pharisees wanted to be noticed, honored and praised for their knowledge of the Torah and interpretation of the Law of Moses. Their traditions became so over the top that they were described in Matthew 23:4 by Jesus as laying heavy burdens on people’s shoulders that were hard to bear. Jesus also talked about how, “They do all their deeds to be seen by others…[and]… love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues” (Matt. 23:5-6). They wanted their names to be made known above all and their obsession for standing, status and self-indulgence became a presence of oppression.
Jesus warned against their ways and provided an opposite alternative to greatness during the last supper. As the disciples sat with Jesus, they began to argue about who was the greatest among them. It appears that even they were not immune to the allure of status, honor and power the world had to offer. Jesus demonstrated true humility and taught them that greater is the one who serves rather than the one that is served (Luke 22:26). Then as an act of love for his disciples, he gets up from the table and prepares to wash their feet (John 13: 4-5).
Jesus humbled himself to the status of servant as he removed his outer garments, poured water in the basin, kneeled and washed the miles of filth off of his disciples feet. The highest became the lowest and the master became the servant. Their eyes were opened to the greatness of God as Jesus fulfilled their need for love and forgiveness through a humble act of service.
The cure for self-concern is to focus on Christ’s greatness rather than our own.
When are you tempted by the allure of status, honor and power? Like me, do you try to establish your own greatness through parenting outcomes, job performance and accomplishments? Does it feel like your desire for greatness becomes a weight too heavy to bear?
Dear friend, Jesus loves you. He died on the cross and bore the weight of your self-serving sin, and mine, so that we could be free from the pressures of this world. Unlike our wants and desires that we so desperately pursue, Jesus is near; He is attainable and He wants to work in and through you.
When you notice your motives are self-serving, cry out to God saying, “Lord, will you please open my eyes to the ways in which I have sought my own greatness instead of yours. I thank you that I am forgiven for these things because of your death on the cross and victory over sin. Give me a heart to see the pain of others and enter into it with humility and love so that I may serve them, just like you serve me. Amen.”
Memory Verse: “Even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
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