John 13:16

“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”-John 13:16

Jesus had been instructing his disciples in the way of the cross, which is the way of service.  They had been watching him and listening to him, yet they also held on to a tiny hope that he would leave the way of the cross, reveal his power, and ultimately seek glory in an earthly kingdom.

They saw him as Lord (see Jn. 13:13), which in their thinking gave him every right to rule with power, but he didn’t, at least not in any way they expected.  When he said, “A servant is not greater than his master,” he was telling them, “You all agree that I am your Lord and master.  If that is true, do you imagine that your lives will be exempt from service?  No. I want you to live the same way.”  They were to be his messengers, carrying the good news of the Kingdom of God into the world.  The message he wanted them to share was one of the Kingdom of the cross, which is built upon loving service, not control.

Over time, his message gets twisted.  So much of modern Evangelicalism, at least to the West, has abandoned the way of the cross, preferring the way of glory.  Some Christians talk about how God will bless them with wealth and possessions if they just believe rightly, or speak the right words, but God’s kingdom is filled with other-centered servants, not self-centered consumers.

Jesus, In our self-centeredness, we seek after our own comfort, recognition, and glory, yet you have called us to something greater.  You have asked us to be messengers of love and service. Forgive our self-centered ways and lead us back to the way of the cross. Amen.

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