Luke 11:17-27, Serving together

Sunday, March 04, 2007


My post yesterday is very much a rhetorical question more than anything after a very interesting chat with a friend about church leadership. Coincidently, the sermon in church today has to do with exactly the same topic: church leadership in the theme of serving together.

Luke 22:17-27 (ESV)
17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.
22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!"
23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
25 And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors.
26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
27 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.

The gist of the sermon is pretty straightforward: it basically drives home the fact that how the world practice power or authority and how Christ does it are poles apart. While one greatness is determined by how many people are servant to him, the other is determined by how many are served. Different focus, different standards.

What intrigued me though was this passage in John.

John 13:3-17 (ESV)
3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,
4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.
5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand."
8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."
9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
10 Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you."
11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."
12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you?
13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
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.
17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

I find this passage so prominent and significant in carrying the message of servanthood that I am very perplexed why it was not picked up by the other Gospels. And I am sure there is an answer. But I do not have one. Do you?

pearlie
Picture by Greg Olsen

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