Date: December 11, 2022
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Scripture: Matthew 20:20-28
Series: Why Jesus Came
Would you all thank, Scott and Renee with me. Thank you guys. We are so glad that you’re here. If you’re joining us online as well, we’re glad you’re here, we got a Bible open with me to Matthew chapter 20. We’re going to look at verses 20 through 28. Just as you’re turning there, I’ll say I really love what Scott reminded us of there in particular, as he was reflecting on some of the kids that they have the opportunity to serve at Bethesda mission, just that reminder that every person bears God’s image, every single one, that means that there’s something in them that God is loving to draw forward and to redeem and to restore, so that he might glorify himself through it. I mean, what a good reminder that we are to look at every person as someone who bears the image of God. So Scott, thanks for reminding us of that, and it deepens our desire to serve. That’s what we’re gonna reflect on today. We have been thinking, do add them about why Jesus came, in his own words, we’ve been trying to ask that simple question. Look at places in scripture where Jesus tells us this is this is why I’ve come when we saw on week one of Advent as we thought about it, the answer to this question, we looked at a text in John, where Jesus said, I’ve come to do the Father’s will, what it meant for the divine son to do the will of the Divine Father and to submit himself. Last week, we, our kids helped us through the kids for a musical really reflect upon Jesus coming into the world, God incarnate God in the flesh. So this week, we’re gonna reflect upon what it means that Jesus came to serve. We’ll look at this text in Matthew chapter 20, where he came to serve. I was thinking about this text I was thinking about, as a dad, quite often, I will take very mundane ordinary moments and use them to teach really big principles, right? Have we experienced this? Yes, you had a dad, maybe who did this, I can’t decide if my kids like that less, or brussel sprouts less. When I take moments like you need to make your bed otherwise you won’t learn to obey God in your entire life. Then thinking it’s just a bad dad, it’s some sheets pulled up a little higher, a little further, how are you equivalent in you making this equivalent to learning to obey God? You know, I mean, eat your eat your vegetables, do this do that there’s always a bigger principle behind it. All the dads said, Amen. That’s right. Something big behind it, right. So my kids, you know, there’s there’s big mazing kids, but you get the occasional eye roll, when you sort of make these moments that big. But I’ll tell you what, as we look at today’s textures that I found out, I’m in really good company, because Jesus did the same thing. So take that my kids, right? They’re not in here. So I can say that. Alright, Matthew 20:28. Now, listen, here’s what I want you to see Jesus gonna get approached by a mom, and this mom is gonna have a request for her boys, right? Like every good mom, she comes to him, she’s got a she’s got a request. The way Jesus is gonna respond to that is he’s going to answer that specific question, what he’s going to do, he’s going to do it, there’s something bigger at work here that I want you to see so much. So this is going to use the moment to speak about why he even came into the world as the Son of God. But he wants to teach a very a much bigger lesson. So let’s read it together. We’ll kind of walk our way through it. So beginning of verse 20, of Matthew chapter 20. We’ll have the words on the screen if you don’t have a Bible in your hands today. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee, that’s James and John to the disciples. Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee, came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked him for something, I can’t decide if the kneeling is a true humility, or if it’s a little bit of a, I’m going to kind of faux humble myself before I asked for something that’s going to be really big. All right. Then she says, He said to her, what do you want? She said to him, say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one of your right hand and one of your left in your kingdom. Is that a big request? Huge. Right now Jesus sees it and he goes, okay. Then he asks a question, and he doesn’t ask it of the mom. He asks it of the boys, and they’re going to answer which tells me maybe they put their mom up to this. Maybe they said, Mom, why don’t you go ask this? Because we know we probably shouldn’t ask it for ourselves. So why don’t you go ask if it’s like every good mom, she’s all about getting her boys a good seat at the table. Right? Jesus answered, You don’t know or you do not know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink? Now? He’s referring there to his death. Are you able to drink a cup of suffering? A cup of sacrifice that I am going to drink? That’s a really important question. I’ll tell you why in just a moment. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink? They He said them, we are able that is a foolish answer. He said to them, you will drink my cup. But to sit at my right hand and my left is not mine to grant, that it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my father. When the 10 heard it, the other disciples, when the 10 heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. Here comes the lesson. But Jesus called them to him all 12 of them and said, you know that the rulers of the Gentiles, lord it over them. They’re great ones. In other words, those who are in those positions of authority, they’re great ones, exercise authority over them. In other words, they rejoice in authority for authorities sake, they love to point out, I’m in charge, you’re not, and to use that authority in a way that it serves them to use that authority. That’s what Jesus saying happens among those who don’t know God.
It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great, and I take that phrase, great not to mean just greatness of character, although that’s true, not just great in the eyes of God, although that’s true, too. But in the context, the greatness is the authority, the position of authority. So if you’re going to be one who was great, one who holds some kind of authority, if you’re going to be great among you must be the one who would be great must be your servant. Whoever would be first among you, must be your slave. Now notice, he’s just gone from servant to slave, he’s gone from one who is sort of, he’s going lower and lower. That’s the point of going from servant to slave, right? So he’s saying, you, if you want to be great, you must go low. You must embrace humility, you must embrace loneliness. Then he says this, there will be first among you must be your slave. Even as here’s the crux of the whole thing, even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but what church but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Let me point out two things in the last verse number one, he highlights his cross as the culmination of his entire life, it all moved in the direction of that ultimate act of service is what he’s saying, I came not to be served, but to serve. Here’s the ultimate expression of that, when I’m going to give my life as a ransom for many people. If you’ve never heard this news, let us be the first to share it with you. Jesus death on the cross is the opportunity to be reconciled to God for everyone who believes. It is the declaration that you can know God and be restored to him through faith, not through any works, not through intelligence, not through any gifts, or money or anything else, not by all the effort that you could put forth. But just simply by believing that he is paid for your sins, they have a penalty, and it is death and separation from God forever. He has taken that price paid it for you. All you need to do is believe in him. His whole life is towards that ransom, that act of service, that ultimate display of humility, and loneliness. Now he’s even further highlighting how humble and low you must be in order to be great, by using that phrase, Son of man at the beginning of the verse that’s straight from the book of Daniel. In the book of Daniel, there’s a prophecy that Daniel gives, where he refers to the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days, and the Ancient of Days is God the Father, the Son of Man, is a declaration of who the Messiah would be. There’s this relationship between the ancient days and the son of the Son of Man. The reason Jesus uses that term here is because Every good Jew would have been familiar with that prophecy. When you think Son of Man, if you’re a Jewish man or woman or child in this day and age, in that day and age, what you would think is the Son of Man, and Daniel is this exalted figure, it’s this person who the Ancient of Days, God Himself, anoints and says, You are worthy of praise and worthy of honor. So when they would think of that, they would think yeah, oh, yeah, Son of man, that’s really important person. That’s someone who is going to be given praise and honor and at the right hand of the Ancient of Days, so that’s the picture. He says, The Son of Man referring to himself, did not come to be served, which would be a shocking statement in and of itself, because the Son of Man should be served. He didn’t come to be served. But he came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. So he starts with high and he moves to low throughout it. Now, do you see the principle that he’s teaching? See, this mom comes and she asks a question for her boys and it’s a bit of a self aggrandizing question. It’s a bit of a give us privilege. Give us status, give us authority. Jesus says, You need to understand why I came, I did not come so that you could ask questions like this one, I did not come so that you would be made much of or think about life’s purpose as getting more authority, getting more privilege I came to serve, and you must do the same. That’s the principle that Jesus is teaching us. So in answer to that question today, why did Jesus come we want to reflect upon that simple truth, Jesus came to serve, not to be served.
Now, I said, a few weeks ago, that Advent in the rhythm of a Christian, the rhythm of the Christian life, is really I think, and there’s more than this, but I think meant to do four primary things often. If you have spiritual rhythms, both in your daily life, in your weekly life, and in your annual life, then Advent should be one of those annual rhythms. Why don’t we take time, every Christmas season to reflect upon the Incarnation, why God came in the form of a human being became human, and came to dwell among us, and then to redeem us through a death on the cross? I would say the four reasons why, in the sort of church history and the way we think, theologically, is to help us increase our sense of wonder, or sense of mystery, or sense of anticipation, and longing. Those four things are needed in the Christian life. Advent in a unique way has an ability of doing those things for us. So that’s what I’d love to do today, we’re going to use that as our outline, wonder, mystery, anticipation and longing. Let’s ask the question, how does knowing that Jesus came to serve not to be served? How does that help increase each of those things? How does it increase our sense of wonder? How does it increase your sense of mystery? How does it increase our sense of anticipation, longing, all sort of necessary vitamins in the Christian life, if you will, yes. Things that we need to take up and take in? So let’s think about it that way. Let me just say, Now, if you walk out today, my ambition is this. My ambition is not as we examine, I don’t think is Jesus’s in this text, as we think about Jesus coming to serve. We all know that we are to be like him. Is that a fair statement? Yes, yes, a servant is not greater than his master. If he came to do something, then we are to do the same, we are to follow his example. So we all know that. But my goal today would not be for you to walk out and say, I’m going to add five service oriented things to my calendar, I’m going to jam packed my counter, even fuller with Service. Now. Perhaps you have no intentional way, that you’re serving somebody else, that you’re putting their needs ahead of your own, that you’ve, you’ve put it in your life as a regular rhythm, I’d say please do that. You need to do that. But that’s not my ambition today. What I want to ask you to do is let the Spirit of God examine the the condition of your heart, as it relates to humility and loneliness. Because I’m really not that interested in you adding more service oriented activities to your schedule, to be more proud of how service oriented you are, or to feel like people need me. Look how great I am, that I’m so needed in so many places. I’m not interested in that. As your pastor, I want to invite you to examine your heart. When you are made lower, how does your heart react? When you are given the opportunity to embrace humility? Or to go forward in the path of arrogance? Which way do you go? What’s in your heart, you’ll serve in all the ways God wants you to serve. As your heart embraces humility and loneliness. I’m deeply convinced them the Spirit will guide you into every act of service he desires you to do, to meet the needs of another and help them know and love Jesus. You will do that as your heart and as mine embraces and loves the humility and loneliness of our King, who said I came not to be served, but to serve. That’s our desire to reflect upon that today. So let’s take up that first work of Advent which is wonder, let’s think about wonder what does it mean to have wonder in your life, I might summarize it this way. Wonder is the sense of awe that we have over the bigness the grandness or the beauty of something when we look at it, we have this sense of I am in awe of the of the sort of shocking grandiose of what’s in front of me and when we think about the Incarnation, we are thinking about the grand act of God on high, departing from his heavenly throne, and embracing and coming into the world and not just coming into it, but coming into it in humility. and loneliness from a throne to a manger. From a crown of gold to a crown of thorns, eventually, it is the greatest act of and this is a theological term. We use it differently. We use this language differently now, but it’s the greatest act of condescension. We use condescension to mean to speak down to someone. But condescension theologically, just means to be worthy of this and to lower yourself to this. That’s what condescension means when we say God condescended in Jesus, we mean, he lowered himself. Now, how does then reflecting on Jesus coming to serve not to be served? How does it increase our sense of wonder at who God is, and what he’s done? The incarnation, I would argue that it’s, it increases our sense of wonder in this way, when you think about the fact that you said, I came to serve, not to be served. It’s through that service, that Jesus accomplished, a cosmic level of work, a work so big, and so bold, and so significant, that he is restoring all of creation, from the stars in the sky to every particle of dust on the ground, he is bringing about the restoration, and how is he doing it through an act of power? Is he restoring it through an act of education and imparting a lot of information, he has brought about a cosmic scale work through an act of humility and loneliness, you want to see your world change, try that. He did not bring change at a cosmic level, through some grand active power, he brought it about by lowering himself. That shocks me, the best comparison I can give you that I could think of this week was to say this, imagine that I said, I want you to build me a 10,000 square foot house. Then I gave you a toothpick and said, do it with this. That is the equivalent of cosmic level change cosmic level redemption, purchasing 1000s upon 1000s, upon 1000s of people into a restored relationship with God redeeming souls, and doing it through death on a cross, doing if you poverty in a manger, doing it through namelessness, and loneliness, the tool doesn’t fit the work. And yet God says, This is how great I am, I will accomplish the greatest work in scale, magnitude and substance, I will accomplish it through loneliness, and service. When I reflect upon that, it makes me wonder, it sends me into all now, let me just think about a couple of implications of that for us. Let’s just get down to brass tacks. Let’s make this so I hope applicable. Because I don’t want you to just go Oh, yes, I wonder that is good. I want your mind to sort of expand, I want you to think broadly, I want you to ponder the work of God, and be in awe of it. But let me make a few implications for us. When we think about that reality, the cosmic level scale of God’s work, purchased or brought about through this tool of service.
Here’s three implications number one, it means there’s no right use of authority that is not service. Now, listen, I am hesitant usually to try to use like always and never right. If you’ve been through like marriage counseling one on one, you know, like, Please stop saying always and never you always do this, you never do that, that will really damage your marriage. Right? Don’t say those kinds of things. Right? So I’m, I’m always a little hesitant to be like always, never. But I think in this case, it actually fits. I tried to ponder all week, this week, is there any way that I could ever use whatever authority God gives me? Is there any way I could use it that would be different than service that I can say is valid and right. I could not come up with a single example. I don’t think you can. I think the only right use of authority is service. I think that’s the implication of juicing. I came not to be served, but to serve. Think about what that means. It doesn’t mean leaders don’t make hard decisions. Doesn’t mean if you’re in a position of authority, you don’t make challenging you don’t challenge those. So you need to do that. I mean, you don’t give orders doesn’t mean you don’t give direction. But what it does mean is that every order every direction, every every approach to every person, underneath your authority, has to always be checked against this desire to serve. Am I doing this in order to serve the people that I am placed in authority and If the answer is no, then it’s the wrong use. It’s the wrong approach, you’re going the wrong way. Would you agree? pondered a little bit further I had to really wrestle with is it always? I think it is. That’s application. Number one. There’s no right use of authority that is not service. Implication number two. Implication number two, is that true authority only comes through service. True authority only comes through service. Now I watch young leaders all the time, grasp that greater authority, and it’s very natural for young leaders to want to do that, right. I want the promotion, I want the position I want. It’s because they feel made to do it. They’re probably right, quite often that they are made to do it. I can see it in them. Right. I think, yeah, absolutely. But the pathway to that authority is not to grasp at it. It’s not to go it’s not to try and take hold of it and say I want that the only pathway to real authority. Listen, you can get positional authority by manipulation, manipulation, you can get it through self promotion, you can get it by sort of tooting your own horn and trumpeting your your merits and your values, you can get positional authority in this world, by putting on a show, through ego, desire for self advance, you can you can get it. That’s not real authority. Real authority, true authority, the kind of authority makes people want to seek you out and know what you think the kind of authority makes people want to follow you. The kind of authority makes people go, Oh, I’m so glad they have authority. In my life. That kind of authority only comes through humility, and loneliness, and service. It’s the only pathway to the true kind of authority. That mean, some of us might have positional authority, but no real authority. And some of you have no positional authority, but have great authority. Because you have embraced humility, and lowliness. And people want to hear from you. They want to follow you. They want to know what you think it’s by the way, if you’re waiting on perhaps got to bring that promotion, that positional authority into your life. Don’t pursue that. The people around you, they’ll want to follow you listen to you, if you will serve them. If you will make yourself low, if you will humble yourself. It’s the only pathway to true authority. There is no other. The third implication is that every act of service in the name of Jesus is consequential. It matters. I wonder how often you’ve dismissed the kind of service you give as small or insignificant. I would encourage you today to recognize that if Jesus said, I came to serve, not to be served, that every act of service in his name is of massive consequence, from every dish unloaded to every vacuum run to every blade of grass mowed, to every Let me hold the door for you, as you go in welcome, glad you’re here. Every act of service is no small thing. It is a demonstration of the way that God has brought about a cosmic level redemption of his entire creation. That’s what you’re displaying, when you hold the door for someone else, you might not have time to explain that whole thing while you open the door for them. But it’s true. Every act of service has cosmic significance. Amazing in hope that helps increase your sense of wonder, and what God has done through service and loneliness. The second is mystery knows a little different. They’re related to one another wonder, is what we feel when we think man I’m in awe of usually this the scale or the beauty of something. Mystery is what we feel when we think God can do anything any way he chooses. My job is to yield to that. Now, how many of you say God has worked in your life in a way that you did not expect? Yeah, exactly. He works in the world in ways we don’t expect. Again, and again, this is one of the hardest things it’s one of the hardest things to to pursue a path that you know, is right and righteous and have it not come to fruition. Then to say but God, I don’t understand why that didn’t come. It seems like evil is even winning the day possibly, and yet to say, I know that you are at work bringing something about and one of the the very obvious things about the incarnation is that everybody expected God to send the Messiah in a way different than he did. Everyone thought the Messiah was going to help conquer Rome. Release people release Israel from political slavery, essentially servitude to another nation. They thought he was going to be a conquering king. They thought he would be the biggest, the strongest, the baddest. I mean, he wouldn’t be the guy that everyone would look at, like in the Old Testament, Luther King assaulted, he’s the best looking, let’s make him king. They thought that’s what the Messiah would be. He was something very different. Isaiah tells us he wasn’t much to look at. He was going to accomplish redemption, not through conquering, not to power, but through what church sacrifice service lowliness. Now, here’s the point of that. I want you to see that the way of God. Oh, I forgot to make a point earlier. You know, sometimes I get up here and I get two points deep. I’m like too far past what I meant to say. I shouldn’t be saying this now. Because really, who cares? You missed the opportunity, the off ramp. You missed it. Keep going. Sorry. I looked at my notes, and I saw it. I’m gonna keep going. So we got communion. All right. Now I’m totally out of it. All right, mystery, we’re on mystery. As we think about mystery, here’s what I want you to understand is God is going to do things in your life, to bring his kingdom in a way that is different than you would expect. You have to learn I have to learn to yield to that. Some of you right now I can sit you’re like, because there’s something happening right now in your life that you’re like, I don’t know how you’re going to use this. I don’t understand it. But I’ve I guess you are.
This understanding of mystery means that one of the greatest questions any Christian must learn to ask and must be asked regularly is whatever is transpiring in your life? What is God’s purpose in it? I’m learning to ask the question. Why? What do you want me to know from this? What do you want me to learn? What is it that I’m in? Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t mourn sin and its consequences as if Oh, that was right, or good or not at all. But it does mean that even when I might mourn or lament the consequences of sin, its results in my life for others sin against me, and I might lament it, I still have to ask, and yet God, what is your purpose for me in this? What would you have me learn from this? What must I learn to do? Or to be? The answer is to embrace lowliness. Now it’s possible, we need to ask a couple questions. Okay. So here’s the first question I want to ask you to ask. Is it possible that the God who sees everything, and is already made certain that his kingdom will come? Is it possible that he will use things you don’t expect, in ways you don’t expect to bring his kingdom into your life? That’s the message of I who deem everything through this tool of service, it’s a mystery. Here’s the beauty. God has already told us how everything will end Christ is the revelation of the mystery of God. That’s what we’re told in the New Testament, Christ is the revelation of the mystery of God, the mystery hidden for ages, that we didn’t know how to accomplish redemption, Christ is revealed that and yet, and he’s also revealed that he will come again, and he will renew all creation, He will restore us, and everything will be made new. But we have no idea what’s going to happen between then between now and then right? Do you know what will happen tomorrow? Or the next day? Do you have any concept of what political turmoil will happen? What Kingdom will rise and what kingdom will fall? Do you know, what will happen in your life? What types of loss what types of wins? Do you have any concept of what will happen in your life between now and the day Jesus returns? No, you don’t you don’t know if he’ll still be here, if he’s coming tomorrow, he’s coming 10 years from now, you don’t know if you’ll be long dead and gone. Before he comes. There is mystery to be embraced in following Jesus. Because we don’t know what he will do. But we know that it’s all moving in the direction of his second coming. It’s all moving to his ultimate victory. So we know that and we embrace the mystery that is daily life here and now. We learn to ask what do you want me to know or learn from this? So let me ask this question. Is God doing something that you’re pushing against? Because you can’t see that it’s his way? You can’t see how the way you wanted it to be is not his way, but the way he’s made it be? You think I want it the other way? He said, No, I’m bringing it this way. Is he bringing his kingdom into your life in a way that you are pushing against right now? Because it’s a mystery to you? Are you resisting, humble, lowly service as the place that God is leading you? Are you resisting any? You think he’s doomed? Because you don’t want to be made low? Because you don’t want to be more humble? Because it’s too hard to imagine lowering yourself in that way.
Is there a relationship that’s broken in your life that can only be healed? Through humility, service, sacrifice, and loneliness? Will you embrace? When you move in that direction? Will you see that the incarnation is a declaration that the Son of God came not to be served? But to serve? Last question, I’ll ask about this. In terms of mystery, we don’t always understand why God this way versus that way, is the act of service you’re giving currently, the one you’re comfortable with, but not the one that’s needed. I see this a lot marriages and easy example. Husbands, I talk to y’all more. So I’m gonna talk to you. But ladies, I can come to y’all as well. Okay, so don’t get high and mighty on me here. Find this a lot in marriages, where I’m talking to husbands. They’re checking the boxes of service they are serving, but they’re serving through doing acts of service and what their spouse with their wife really needs, is someone who will connect with them emotionally. Someone will sit on the couch and ask how they’re feeling, what’s going on in their heart, but the condition what their, what their, what their day brought to them at an emotional level. It’s hard, often can be for us to do that. So we think, but I am serving because we’re serving over here in this way. But the act of service God is calling us into the one that’s really needed to bring his kingdom into our marriage, and the peace and joy and hope of it is something very different. I see some spouses looking at it. Then I’m deeply uncomfortable, that I’ve now created a big time conversations can happen later. Don’t just check the boxes of service, ask what direction God is leading you in humility, and love. Look, it’s okay to say I’m not good at that. But I will commit to get better. I’m gonna try to keep getting better. Not just going to say no, I’m serving you. That’s enough. Honestly, the other way around, do this. I didn’t do this in the last hours. But I will say ladies in particular wives in particular, some of you are saying I’m checking the boxes service for what your husband needs, is to feel that you respect him. He needs you to say I respect you, I will honor you, I think highly of you need you to express that. Just because you handled the kids well, or cook the meal well or you know, whatever your your things are around the house that you’re doing, that may not be the one that’s needed. Maybe he would happily sacrifice all those just to hear you say I respect you, I admire you is the act of service you’re giving the one that’s needed, or just the one that you’re comfortable with. So you can feel like you have made yourself low. But there’s a different kind of loneliness that God is inviting you to embrace and to take up.
Now, let me talk about the last anticipation and longing, anticipation and longing. Anticipation is just be really simple about anticipation is being excited about something in the future. It’s just the it’s the excitement that we feel about something. Longing is the ache we feel because it hasn’t come yet. Right? So I always think about it this way, our family tucked away a little money every year so that we can spend all the time at the beach, there’s a specific spot we always like to go to. Then we booked that usually around this time of year. It’s pretty exciting, right? I have that sense of anticipation. Like, yes, we booked it, I cannot wait. Then I remember that it’s eight months until we get to go there. The ache sets in. Especially because it’s winter, you know, and you’re like, ah, remember what it’s like to wear shorts and like actually see the sun. Those are fun things. Right. So anticipation is the excitement that we feel. Longing is the ache that we feel because it hasn’t come yet. When Jesus says I came to serve, not to be served, there’s a way that that helps us increase our anticipation and longing. Now let me say I don’t think we’re very good at this in an Amazon Prime have it tomorrow, same day delivery kind of way. We don’t develop a lot of longing when everything we order is there today or tomorrow, the next day. So there’s a challenge to overcome. But I actually also think another challenge is sometimes so we don’t have to long very much for things that aren’t of much consequence, like a new shirt. But when it comes to things that actually we really need, like better mental health or freedom from anxiety or addiction. Those are things I don’t think we have. I think we have a deep ache and longing about those but no sense of anticipation because we don’t see that they will ever go away. We don’t see that there will ever be a rest solution to those things. I say both those things to recognize that we’re just probably not great, we have some hurdles to overcome to getting anticipation and longing in our life. Let me say that longing without anticipation is really crushing. If you have no sense of anticipation, excitement that it is going to come, then the ache, the longing that happens through needing it wanting, it is crushing, because there’s no certainty of it coming. Go back to what we said earlier. This is one of the reasons why Jesus chose to in His Word, tell us what the end will be. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to tell us, I will come again. When I come again, I will establish my kingdom on earth. It will look like this. There will be no more mourning, no more crying, no more tears, everything will be perfectly restored. Sin will be done away with, he could have left us in the dark about all that and said, trust me and follow me. I’ve got it covered. If that would have been his choice, what would our right response have been? Yes, we trust but in his wisdom and in His mercy, and in his love? What did he do? He told us what the end of the story is, so that we could anticipate it, be excited about it. Long for the thing that you and I are meant to long for is not a new shirt off of Amazon Prime. It’s not the Christmas presents under the tree. The thing we’re supposed to anticipate and long for is the glory that will be long to Jesus when He comes again. That’s what we’re supposed to longing for every other longing, a secondary subsidiary to that if it’s not a longing rooted in that it’s an inappropriate longing. It’s not a godly longing. All of it is in service to that great longing, that great ache that we feel and anticipation for.
Now. How does thinking about Jesus coming to serve not to be served? How does it help increase our anticipation and our longing? Go back to what we said before. The only pathway to true authority is through what? Service? Jesus in laying down his life. What did he say in verse 20, I came to give my life as a ransom for many. In laying down His life, He has given the greatest act of service, and that is the pathway through which he has brought about his greatest glory, he will receive greatest glory, because he lowered himself to the greatest act of service. That increases our sense of anticipation because we know he will be vindicated. His act of service through death will be vindicated. There will come a day where the humility and loneliness of the cross will no longer be what First Corinthians says foolishness to the world, it will be seen as God’s perfect wisdom, he will be vindicated and that we will be exalted. We read Philippians chapter two, verses five through I think about nine, the beginning of our worship service. What did it say? He humbled himself, he lowered himself to death, even death on a cross. What is the next verse? Therefore, because he lowered himself, therefore, God has highly exalted Him, and given him the name that is above every name. In other words, why will he be worshiped? Because he was servant? Because he lowered himself? It’s what Jesus is getting at. In Matthew 20, verse 22, the text we read about the mom who’s asking for the seats of honor, what does he say? You don’t know what you’re asking for? Are you able to drink the cup that I will drink? In other words, do you want the authority of those seats, it comes through drinking this cup, comes through service, it comes through sacrifice. My favorite example of this in all of Scripture, I don’t have time to read it for you, because we need to come to the communion table. But Revelation Chapter Five means describe the scene to you. Okay, picture it, in your minds, in this text, a vision from John. He sees the scrolls of God needing to be unrolled for God’s purposes to go forward in the world. As he looks at the scrolls, and he stands before the throne of God, he begins to weep. Because there’s no one who can open the scrolls. No one’s worthy. No one has done enough, no one has accomplished the work that God has come to do. The angel standing next to John says, Don’t cry anymore. Then he says this. Now there are these four other worldly creatures surrounding God’s throne. There’s 24 Elders surrounding that throne. There are lightning and thunder in the throne, sea of glass extending from it we heard in chapter four. Now the angel says to jump the lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has conquered. You think yourself Ah, here’s the one with authority. He’s a lion. He’s come to roar. He’s the king in the line of David, the Root of David. But in the very next verse, Do you know what happens? Do not wait. The lion of the tribe of Judah. Do not wait. The Root of David has come and he has conquered. And then it says he is what appears before John now is not a lion. What is it? It’s a lamb who was slain. All four living creatures and the 24 Elders, the whole chapter proceeds from the worship of four to the worship of 24, to the worship of by the end of the chapter, every creature in heaven and on earth, and under the earth worshiped the Lamb who was slain, proclaiming worthy, are you to open the scrolls of God and bring his purposes and his kingdom forward in the world? Why not? Because you’re the lion, because you’re the lamb? Who was slain? Where did his authority come from? Through his service, through His sacrifice the rest of that chapter? He’s never called the lion again, he’s called the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb who was slain, what is the message for you and I lower yourself, embrace humility, and loneliness. That is where authority comes from. You think about anticipation and longing that worship in Revelation five, do you find that when I describe that worship something in your heart, a tuning fork goes off, and you think, Oh, I can’t wait.
The more you think about Jesus coming not to be served, but to serve, the more that tuning fork will ring in your heart, because that’s where his worship was purchased. He will be vindicated, so much so that the entire world order and way of thinking will be overturned. All the humility and loneliness will be seen as greatness and authority, and all the ego and bravado and empty wind blowing, will be seen for what it is. That is vapor, and nothingness. That day is coming. He came not to be served, but to serve. This Advent season, I’ll invite you to grow your anticipation. You’re longing for Jesus, to come again. To receive the glory that is his and do it by embracing loneliness. Do it by embracing loneliness and watch your yield witness to his mysterious ways. Your sense of awe and wonder at the level and scale of what he has done, watch your heart grow, as you do. Well, it’s very fitting that we would come to the table service, why don’t you come, we’re going to come to the Lord’s table now. As we come to these elements, church family, as always, when we come to the Lord’s table, we come holding in our hand these elements that are for today, in particular, a good reminder, the ultimate reminder for us of how Christ brings the kingdom of God into the world through lowliness, and humility and service. So I’m gonna invite you, as we hold these elements will take them all together here in a moment. But as you hold the elements as they come to, you want to invite you to ask this question of the Lord and say, Where do I need to embrace what these elements represent? Where I need to embrace greater humility, greater loneliness and greater service? Where are you calling me forward in that? Let him weigh that in your heart, he’ll show you, He’ll guide you will lead you. If you’re not a follower of Jesus, I will say to you let the elements pass today we really are proclaiming our belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus as the only means to eternal life. To reconcile relationship with God, we believe that we put all our weight and our trust on and we’re saying that when we take these elements and we would not want to invite you to do something that you have not yet believed and embraced. We’re glad that you’re here we ask that you would hear the call of God to you to say come and embrace the person of Jesus to be reconciled to me.