Archives For service

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 7:9-17

“9After this I looked and behold: A great crowd which no one was able to count. The crowd was from every ethnicity, nation, people, and language and stood before the throne and before the Lamb wearing white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God—the one who sits on the throne—and to the Lamb.’ 11All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, the four living beings, and they fell before the throne on their faces and they worshipped God 12saying, ‘Amen! Praise, honor, wisdom, thanksgiving, reverence, power, and strength to our God forever and ever. Amen!’ 13Then one of the elders asked me, ‘Who are these clothed in long white robes and where did they come from?’ 14Then I replied to him, ‘My lord, you know the answer.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones coming from out of the great persecution, clothed in their long-flowing robes, and made white through the blood of the Lamb.’ 15This is why they are in front of the throne of God and serve him during the day and during the night in his Temple. The one sitting on the throne will live with them. 16They will not be hungry nor will they be thirsty, nor will the sun fall on them or its burning heat 17because the Lamb in the midst of the throne shepherds them and leads them to the fountain of living water. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:9-17) 1

 

God and the Lamb Are Praised (Rev 7:9-17)

Photo Credit: Nheyob

C. General Remarks

“The verbs in this section are very diverse, combining present, future, aorist, and perfect tenses. There is a great debate as to the temporal orientation of the passages, with some contending for a preterist interpretation (applying to the members of the seven churches), others to a millennial setting, still others to the time just before eternity is ushered in, and finally many to eternity itself” (Osborne, Revelation, 334).

“But, as so often in Revelation (and in Christian thinking generally), present and future overlap and interlock in various confusing ways, and already some of the blessings of the final city are to be experienced by these people – by these people who, John is eager to say, are you, you who are about to suffer in Ephesus, or Smyrna, or Pergamum, or wherever” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 75).

II. PRAISE FROM THE HEAVENS (Rev 7:9-12)

A. The Crowd in White Robes (v. 9) Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own

Today we continue our series studying a controversial and revealing statement from Jesus about what leadership is.

That statement is this:

But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
Luke 22:26-27 (New Living Translation)

This statement was controversial because when Jesus says it He stands in direct opposition to the views of power and leadership at that time. Here are a few important observations about why Jesus’ statement was so controversial.

Jesus is announcing a new order, a new kingdom, and a new way of doing things. In Jesus’ time there was a social structure where the Jews (who were dominated by the Romans) thought they were better than the Romans because the Jews had what they believed was the “correct God.” On the other hand, the Romans (who dominated the Jews) thought they were better than the Jews because they were superior and ruled over the Jews. Thus, the social class structure was very obscure with each group of people thinking they were better than each other. Fortunately, Jesus comes in and throws all of that away. Jesus is saying “I am among you (Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, etc.) as the one who serves.” This was a big shift and a big statement to people at that time.

Let’s fast forward 35-50 years later when Luke writes this gospel and the book of Acts. There is much evidence that Luke did not write his account of Jesus’ life for about 35-50 years after Jesus died, hence there is yet another historical and cultural context we may examine this passage in.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone reading this statement 35-50 years after Jesus first said those words. The people reading or hearing this statement now hear it within the context of Luke’s entire gospel and the book of Acts in the New Testament. Put yourself in these shoes of someone reading the verse:

  • Someone
    who reads the book of Acts and reads about the many trials and pains
    early apostles went through
  • Someone who had endured persecution,
    troubles, and conflicts with others because of their faith and
    belief in Jesus.
  • Someone who knew that Jesus had
    come to earth and died for their sins.
  • Someone who was struggling with a
    tyrannical government authority that opposed Christianity.

The message being communicated to
these early believers is that a true leader is a servant just as Jesus was a servant. Jesus was the ultimate
servant giving his life for others.

So, if Jesus’ original message to His 12 disciples was to serve others, and the message being communicated to His early followers was to serve despite their persecution, what is the message for us?

Now that we know Jesus came here to serve others, we are also called to do the same. We are called to do the same because Jesus did not come here to do a few things to leave.

Jesus came here to be a model of service for us to follow.

  • Jesus served His disciples then He gave His life for us.
  • That model of serve was shown to us by His 12 disciples who traveled for ministry, were physically beaten, snake bitten, ship wrecked, placed in prison, and eventually killed.
  • This all happened because the disciples lived out Jesus’ instructions that a leader “should take the lowest rank and be like a servant.”

As we close out this series I hope you will consider how you will serve others.

Question: With all the pain, shame, and blame that Jesus endured for you–because He was among us as the one who serves–how are you going to respond in serving others?

Christ’s example teaches us
That we should follow Him each day,
Meeting one another’s needs,
Though humble service be the way.
Cindy Hess Casper, Our Daily Bread (June 2, 2009)

Today’s post continues this series titled, “How will I serve?” based on a statement Jesus said about leadership and service to others.

In order to properly understand Jesus’ statement we will need to look at the entire passage of what He was saying and study the historical and cultural context which He lived in.

The entire passage in which Jesus says His statement about leadership and service is this:

14When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table.15Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.16For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” 17Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves.18For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” 19He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 20After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. 21“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. 22For it has been determined that the Son of Man must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” 23The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing. 24Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. 25Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.27Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. 28“You have stayed with me in my time of trial. 29And just as my Father has granted me a Kingdom, I now grant you the right 30to eat and drink at my table in my Kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – Luke 22:14-30

I have put the statement we are studying for this series in bold.

To appropriately understand this story and what Jesus’ is saying we first need to
know who Luke was and who he was writing to.

  • Luke was a companion of the apostle Paul and he also wrote the New Testament book of Acts (Acts was written after Luke and all the things which are written about in Acts happened after Jesus’ time on earth).
  • Luke was a Gentile physician/doctor who wrote one of the four accounts of Jesus. His account is called, The Gospel According to Luke.
  • Because Luke was a physician he was a meticulous researcher and writer. He was such a meticulous researcher and writer that his gospel is considered to be one of the most accurate and well pieced together historical accounts of any literature that still exists today.

To appropriately understand this story and what Jesus is saying we also need to know when Luke wrote his Gospel and who he was writing to.

  • Luke wrote his gospel to people in general: Jews and Gentiles.
  • Luke was writing his gospel during a time when the church and its members were experiencing a lot of persecution and trials from others.
  • Because Luke also wrote his Gospel and the book of Acts, we have the unique situation where we can see some of the teaching and messages Luke is hoping to convey in his Gospel lived out in the book of Acts. It is possible that when Luke sat down to write his Gospel and book of Acts, he knew the stories and teachings he
    wanted to present throughout both as a testimony to who Jesus was, what
    Jesus came here to do, and how we are to respond to him.

To appropriately understand this story and what Jesus is saying we need to also know what happens before this verse.

  • At this time Jesus is having the Last Supper (the final meal with His 12 disciples before His crucifixion) with His disciples and He tells them that one of them will betray Him.
  • The disciples then ask each other whom among them might do such a thing.
  • This leads them to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. The gospel books of Matthew and Mark give more description saying that during this same time period James and John (two of the twelve disciples) actually ask
    Jesus if they could sit in the places of honor to Jesus’ left and right. They wanted special treatment.

Jesus who was a master leader and teacher always recognized a teaching moment when He saw one: this was one of those teaching moments. He saw a situation in which He needed to dedicate some time to teach and mentor these young disciples to help them understand their faith and how to live it out not for themselves, but for others.

Now that we have discovered some of the background information relating to Jesus’ statement and the context which He said it in, tomorrow we will deduce what exactly He means by what He said and then we will figure out what that means for us as people living in our current time.

Question: Do you have any additional insights to the historical and cultural context which Jesus said these words in?

Today’s post is the fourth part of a six-part series exploring the question: What makes Christian leadership distinctly “Christian” and what makes Christian leadership distinctly “leadership?”. This week we will study this question and I hope to receive feedback from you in the comments section.

What makes Christian leadership 'Christian' and what makes christian leadership 'leadership'

SERVICE AND SACRIFICE

Perhaps the strongest distinctions of Christian leadership are service and sacrifice.

The concepts of service and sacrifice go back to Jesus who served and sacrificed for the people he led. In his article, “Leaders as Servants: a Resolution of the Tension,” Derek Tiball writes, “Christian leadership is meant to be different from other forms of leadership because Christian leaders are called to be servants.”[1] Serving others while in leadership is definitely different than the world where power and influence are held closely by those who have it and desired and envied by those who do not have it. This concept of serving others is difficult because “our fallen human instincts seek power, wealth, status, and influence. Servant leadership is thus quite unnatural for fallen human beings. Thinking like a servant-leader requires a new mindset; acting as a servant-leader requires empowerment by the Holy Spirit.”[2] Continue Reading…

Leaders are glad to serve the needs of others. Often they are too glad to serve the needs of others. Continue Reading…