This week’s reflections are written by Rev. Brian Johnston, one of our Associate Pastors here at St. Matthew’s Rooted 2019 – Week Fifteen Day Five Today’s reading is Acts 4: 32-37 The believers were now of one heart and mind. God’s … Continue reading
Today’s reading is Luke 22: 24-46 There are phrases in Scripture that always speak to me. It may not be something long and lofty, it may be something small and quiet. Today’s reading has one such phrase to me. It’s in … Continue reading
Today’s reading is Luke 10: 21-42 Today we see one of the great parables of our faith, the good Samaritan. So much here to unpack. We see the priest and the Levite pass up the injured man, and we are critical of … Continue reading
Today’s reading is Luke 10: 1-20 Back in chapter 9 we saw Jesus sent out the Twelve to do ministry, to cast out demons, heal the sick, and bring restoration in His name. Today we see that number expanded. We see … Continue reading
Today’s reading is Luke 9:44-62 Today’s reading gives us several stories all in succession. Just a couple of points from each section. 44-45, I’m struck by Jesus’ tone – let these words sink in. He is not playing around. He means … Continue reading
We all need some beauty in our lives, don’t we? We all need something beautiful in our lives. Today’s reading from Isaiah made me think about what is beauty, and where true beauty is found. Listen to what we are … Continue reading
In our post-Easter passages, today we look at Jesus very last words to us in Matthew 28: 16-20. They are His words that truly shape the direction of the church in all the age that is to come. Listen to … Continue reading
There are certain phrases in the Bible that are always powerful to me. One of my pastors as a child used to talk about the phrase “but” in the Bible. Anytime you hear that word in a passage you know that something big is going to come next.
Today’s passage in Luke 22: 24-27 has one of those phrases that always jumps out to me. Listen to what it says:
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
I think no other phrase in the Bible sums up what the Christian life should look like more than that. But not so with you.
Look what Jesus is doing there. He is talking about how the world determines who is the greatest. Those who are powerful are the greatest in the context of the world. Those who are in charge. Those who run things. Those who have power. They are the greatest.
But not so with you. For us, for us a Christians, greatest does not come from power or position, or from any such thing like this. Greatness comes from service. From serving one another. From laying down our lives for one another. From putting each other first.
That’s what the Gospel-infused life should look like. Different. Different from the world. A life driven by love. By grace. By forgiveness. Why? Because we have been shown love. Grace. And forgiveness.
And we must show those same things to each other. And to the world.
Today, greatness is in your hand. But not greatness the way that the world looks at it. Greatness the way that God looks at it. Jesus says this in John 15:13 – No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
So, today, we see what the world does. That’s fine. That’s great. But not so with you. Not so with me. Not so with us. We are the church. We are the body of Christ. We are called to live our His love and allow that love to change this world. Today, let’s be obedient to that call. Let’s live that love out.
And let’s see what happens when we live that Gospel-infused life. Let’s just see what God does with it!
If you’d like to receive these thoughts by email, be sure to click here and join my email devotional group!
What’s next is always a key question for me. I guess I’m the kind of person that’s always looking ahead, but when I know something, or understand something I always want to know, what do it do with it?
What’s next? What happens next?
I’ve told the story before about worshiping in a church for while that really stressed the reality of human sin and brokenness. I left worship every Sunday thinking, ok, I get it. I’m messes up. What do I do about it?
What’s next? What happens next? For me, that’s always a big thing. What is our response to what happens? What do we do about it? How do we handle it, how does it impact us?
Today, look at Luke 4:38-39 and see what happens next:
And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them.
Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law. What happens next? She immediately got up and began to serve Jesus and the others. Notice that word, immediately. As soon as she could, she got up and went to serve others.
I wonder why?
Perhaps she realized just how much she had been given; she saw the length that Jesus went to, to give her a fresh start from this illness, and the way that she could say thank you, the way that she could respond was this.
Perhaps today, that’s us. Has Jesus moved in your life? Has He given you grace, mercy, forgiveness? Has He restored you in some way? Shown you mercy? Given you grace?
What happens next?
How do we say thank you? How do we show Him how thankful we are for what He has done for us? Perhaps we follow the example of Peter’s mother in law.
Perhaps today we serve someone. That’s our thank you. That’s our response. We show that love, the way that Jesus has shown that love to us.
Today, may our “what’s next” be to show God’s love to someone through our lives!
Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!
S – scripture
Slow down. No matter where you read this at, at work, at home, wherever, take this moment to breathe. Take this moment to let the worries to this moment, the worries of tomorrow, the regrets of the past leave your mind. Listen. Listen to the Word of God. Listen.
A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
O – observation
How leadership works in the world
The disciples are fighting about who will be the greatest in the kingdom that is to come. And Jesus basically handles that question in two ways. First, he poses the question, how does leadership work in the world?
It’s about power, prestige, and money. He says, they lord over you. The leaders act better than you, more powerful than you, they use that power to get you to do what they want you to do. You do what they want you to do, because you don’t have any choice. You have to. That’s what the kings of Jesus day did.
How leadership works in the church
Jesus then asked, what about us? How should it be for us?
Instead of power being the driving force of leadership for His people, greatness for us does not come from power, but from service. Jesus tells us, that for us to be truly great in God’s kingdom, we must serve. To truly be great or a leader or respected in God’s kingdom, it’s about how we serve. How we love. How we forgive.
That’s what greatness looks like for us.
How Jesus lived
Jesus asks, in their culture, who would be “seen” as greater? The one “reclining at the table” would basically be the one at the seat of honor. Jesus says, what do I do? I serve you. And yet, who is more honorable that Jesus? Who is greater than Jesus? No one. So, Jesus doesn’t just tell the disciples that they should serve and love, He actually does.
He is the greatest. And He is the servant.
A – application
Am I using my “status” for my good or God’s?
God has you where He has you for a reason. Your friends, your job, your connections, everything. He has you there for a reason. Are you using the place He has you for His purpose in your life, or for you own? Are you using your resources for His good and His purpose, or are you using them only for your power, or position, or appearance.
He tells us that that’s what the world does. And He has told us that as Christians, that’s not what we are supposed to do. How are we using all that God has given us?
Am I serving today as Jesus would have?
Jesus tells us to truly be great for Him, we have to serve. Today, are we doing that? Are we serving others? Are we placing them ahead of ourselves? Are we placing their needs, their stuff ahead of ours? That’s were true greatness, true peace, true purpose comes from. Not from living for ourselves, but for living for God’s purpose.
Jesus modeled that, He lived that, He showed that.
Today, as His followers, do we do the same?
P – prayer
Dear Father, today, help us to use everything that you have given us for your purpose and for your glory. Help us to be truly great in your kingdom. Help us to serve each other, as you served us. Amen.
Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phone.