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2nd Wednesday of Lent

February 20, 2013

Christ, the Servant
Luke 22:24-27

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!
Luke 22:24-27    Luke 22:24-27
    A dispute also arose among [the disciples], as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. [25] And [Jesus] 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.
      Looking back at this conversation from our perspective, it seems strange, doesn’t it?
Jesus had just instituted the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion with His disciples. He was instructing them about how He would be betrayed, how He would be fulfilling all the Scriptures as He was numbered with the transgressors. He told them that He goes as has been determined, to suffering, shame and death.
            And these guys argue among themselves about which of them is most important.
            Their pride and self-importance got in the way. It blinded them, making it so they couldn’t see the reality of what is going on around them.  That’s what pride does. It blinds us to reality.
            Tonight we take up the second of the titles of Jesus on our list. He is Jesus, the Servant.
This is one of the harder ones – harder, that is, for us to take. We’d like to think of Him only as the King or the Savior, the Valiant Conquering Hero.  It feels better to us if we are on the side of the winner, a King, a Savior, a Hero – that’s someone we can be proud of.  It doesn’t do our pride much good to consider that our Lord and our God is a servant, the waiter at the table in the upper room that night, a servant who was numbered with the transgressors, beaten, insulted, spat upon.
            Christ, the Servant is our theme tonight. Pride makes that hard to take.
            Now there are sometimes when it is good to have a certain amount of pride. If a young person is out seeking a job, he or she should have some pride and some self-respect, as they go in for an interview. There are times when you need to sell yourself, speak up for yourself. Acknowledge and present your strengths, your gifts, your talents.
            It is good for us to have some pride in our nation with thankfulness in our hearts to God.
            It is good for us to have some pride in our church. We have a good thing going here in this place where the love of God in Jesus is made known and shared.
            It is good for parents to have pride in their children – a reasonable amount of pride, that is. There is nothing worse than listening to someone dote about how wonderful their children are, when you know for a fact that the kids are spoiled brats.
            Pride, in excess, can blind a parent to reality.
            Each of us needs to examine carefully our pride. What is it we are proud of? Are we proud of ourselves and our abilities without acknowledging that all that we have is a gift from above? Is our pride in our possessions, accomplishments, abilities so overblown that it borders on idolatry, putting ourselves in the place of honor that should be reserved for only God?
            The worst pride blinds a person from seeing God and His Son Jesus Christ and His work of saving us. So pride can put your very salvation at risk.
            Here’s the problem:  Proud people don’t like to ask for help. It pains the pride to have to admit that you need help. Proud drivers don’t like to stop to ask for directions. Prideful people wouldn’t ever consider going to the pastor and discussing with him problems they may be having in their life or faith or marriage or family. They hate to admit to him or themselves that they need help, that they can’t do it alone.
            Pride blinds you from the reality of your needs.
            Pride, sadly, gets in the way of you receiving the services of those God graciously gives you, whether it be the Pastor or the doctor or the mechanic, the technician.
            Thanks be to God that He sends us His Holy Spirit, whose task is to enlighten us. The Holy Spirit grants us faith and opens our eyes that we can see how empty our pride is and how much we need help.
            The Holy Spirit opens our blind eyes so that we can see Jesus and see what He is doing.
            Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth says, “I among you as the one who serves.” Don’t let your pride blind you to that. Don’t say, “no, Lord, I don’t want you to be my servant. You don’t need to go and do all that.”
            When you see the cross, when you glory in the cross, hear what Jesus says, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
            There at the cross, hanging in death is Jesus Christ, the servant. The servant of His Father - faithfully doing the Father’s will unto the bitter end. There at the cross is your servant, serving up for you just what you need – forgiveness and the salvation of your soul.
            Jesus serves us at the table of the Lord, serving His body for food and His blood for drink, without which there can be no eternal life.
            Jesus serves us as our teacher, shaping our faith, by His word.
            And He invites us His beloved into His eternal Kingdom where He will sit us at the heavenly banquet table. There He prepares a table before us, our cup overflows.
            Let this word “Servant” stick with you for a while this Lent. Use it in your meditation and prayers, like this: “Dear Jesus, thank you for setting aside Your glory and honor in heaven to come to earth and humbly taking the form of a servant.
            Help me to put aside my pride, that I might see clearly my need and then believe in your service that fills all my needs.
            I believe your Word, I hunger for your Service in Word and Sacrament. Be with me and serve me daily with your Grace until in heaven I receive the service of your glory.”  Amen.

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