Toward the end of His mission here – and right before His death, Jesus’ disciples – the ones who had laid their lives on the line to follow Him, were still hoping for the kind of greatness held by Herod, Caesar Augustus and all the other kings and conquerors who have ever lived. Jesus’ shocking revelation was, “That’s your plan – not mine – and it’s fueled by all the wrong kinds of things. It’s all about you – YOUR greatness, YOUR egos, YOUR grand future! True greatness is about serving others! And if you miss that, you will never be great!” And that’s just the way it is – and it’s the way it still is. There is no greatness, no reward, no personal growth, no development as a disciple and follower of Jesus, and no “Well done” in your eternal future – without serving. It always boils down to being God’s servant, doing what He asks – with your whole heart – and serving others on His behalf. And that means that we have to initiate, engage, give ourselves to Jesus’ mission. Honestly? What do you have going on that’s more important than that?
Jesus was very clear with those who followed Him that as intimidating and impossible as it seemed – He would leave and they would carry on His mission. But they weren’t stranded; He told them that He would be with them to the end; that the Holy Spirit who had been with them – would now be in them – and He would give them awesome power. He would guide them. He would gift them. He would give them wisdom. And not only would He inspire them, He would gift them to carry it out. hat Jesus did through them was spectacular! Jesus’ call, Jesus’ promise, Jesus’ command, and Jesus’ power wasn’t just for them. They took Him seriously – and engaged under very difficult circumstances – and they prevailed! The unfortunate part of history for followers of Jesus is that for centuries at a time people simply saw themselves as recipients of truth and grace from God’s servants – instead of servants of God and givers of grace and truth. This is truth to stand on: We are not volunteers! We are servants of the Most High God – with the immense power of the Holy Spirit in us – gifted and called to do way more than we could ever accomplish on our own! Wouldn’t it be a shame to hand in our lives without ever engaging in the only mission that yields fruit forever?
Most people who say they are Christians and have decided to follow Jesus
would agree to a number of things:
* That Jesus rose from the dead and was vindicated by the Spirit as God’s anointed King,
the Judge of all the earth, and the only Savior of the world
* That Jesus, because He is Lord – and because He has saved us from an eternity
without Him, is worthy of our very best
* That because of Jesus, we are not only blessed by His goodness and presence and
kindness here – but blessed in the eternal dimension that follows; the best is yet to come!
* That because we belong to Jesus, we are His Body – His Gathered – His means of
accomplishing His mission.
Now, given we know all that and profess all that, how that gets lived out in our lives is different than you might think. Sometimes what that means is that we see ourselves as great consumers of God products – truth, forgiveness, comfort, strength, and help. But really… at times we see ourselves as takers – and Jesus as the Giver. Following Him means that He is not just giving – but leading us; that He is at the front end of any plans we have. Our problem is that we are led astray by our dreams of wealth, comfort, success and popularity – and we trade our heritage and calling for stuff that doesn’t last, wears out, gets outdated and fades into obscurity – just like every king, emperor and warrior that tried to build a legacy for themselves!