Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Father's To Give

Bobservations Column

By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In today’s Matthew 20 passage, we are introduced to the human idea of a hierarchy among men. Whether through power, or position, or wealth, or influence, it is an idea based in the sin of pride. We even see it on bumper stickers and recruitment posters. “Where I am is where you really want to be,” is the sentiment, and it’s used to sell everything and promote anything!

“Lord, grant that my brother and I sit one on your right hand, and the other on your left hand when you come into your kingdom.”  When the other Disciples heard it, they became upset, even indignant towards the “sons of thunder.” Were they upset at the audacity of the two, or were they jealous because they had asked first? Maybe a little of both.

We see it in the racial division in our country and others. If they’re not like “me,” then I should be suspicious of them. It was Satan who set this ball rolling as he tempted Eve “to be as gods.” Deceiving us to be something that we’re not is a level of deceit like no other.

It you are old enough, you might remember “L.S.M.F.T. – Lucky Strike means fine tobacco,” leaving us with the idea that other cigarettes were inferior. “Wouldn’t you really rather drive a Buick, this year?” “N.E.S.T.L.E.S, Nestles makes the very best...c h o c ‘ l a t e!” Is it brand loyalty, or arrogence?

This “I’m better than you” mentality separates people, while God’s Word brings us together, in a large, single peer group. With nearly 8 billion people on the Earth, all of us struggle with the same 10 Commandments (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Scripture tells us that all humanity is doomed.... UNLESS we have accepted Jesus! For Christians, this means we are sinners-saved-by-grace. But there’s that separation again, and it’s within the Church! For true followers of Jesus Christ, there is neither bond, nor free, neither Jew, nor Gentile, neither white, nor black, but we are all one in One! Because of Him, there is no room for pride.

To be found in Jesus should be the Believers’ sole desire. To be His child is enough, because of His grace, and mercy. But if there is to be a separation, then let Jesus define it. Saint? Or sinner? Believer? Or rejecter of His love?
“Woe unto you Scribes, and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not leave the other undone.” - Matthew 23:23

Today's Audio Message:

Matthew 20:20-34 - "The Father's To Give"

As we look at the final verses of this marvelous chapter in Matthew, the majesty and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ is presented.  

The mother of Zebedee's sons approach Jesus with her sons desiring a higher position for them in His Kingdom.  Like this mother, many times we too don't know what we are asking from the Lord, and that is a big problem.  Jesus again explains to these disciples what it means to be great in His kingdom.

This world we live in is very proud.  People pushing themselves and promoting themselves before others.  Relationships in our society are literally falling apart - homes, friendships, all of them.  All social inter-relationship is at a stress point, because everybody is looking out for number one - SELF.  Society are consumed with self-glory, self-esteem, self-promotion, and pride. This is the world's standard, not our Lord's.  

It is interesting that even in the church we find these same attitudes. The old nature, worldliness and pride. Those who have given place to pride have exalted pride, and yet scripture is clear that a proud heart is sin (Proverbs 21:4).

As they make their way to Jerusalem, even in the midst of Jesus predicting His own death, the apostles are still thinking of themselves, and who will be greatest.   Jesus will make it clear to them that they do not understand the implications of what they are asking, and they won't until after His crucifixion.

Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?  He will be consuming the wrath poured out for sin. He will be consuming wrath, punishment and guilt that He does not deserve.   Jesus points out that they will drink of His cup.  All the apostles would suffer to some extent for His names sake. 

There is a contrast between how people seek greatness in the world and we should seek greatness in the kingdom of heaven.  We are not to seek power, prestige, and influence.  If we want to be first, we must first be a slave.    We must seek humility and service. Other's before self. 

The ones that the Lord lifts up are the humble. And that’s why Colossians 3:12 says that we are to put on humility.  1 Peter 5:5 says we are to be clothed with humility. In Ephesians 4:1,2, we are to walk in humility. Before honor is humility. This is contrary to our earthly philosophy where pride is ever and always exalted.

Honor comes through humility; and glory through suffering.

The example of leadership is Christ who gave His life for many.  He came not to take, but to give.  The path to greatness is the path of humility, brokenness, selflessness and service.  No matter the cost, he still calls us to pick up our cross and follow Him. 

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