Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Thursday’s Podcast at STC. Grandchild number four today – it’s Anabelle. Anabelle had her fifth birthday last month; she loves pink and dancing(!) and lives with her mum, dad and big brother (it’s his turn tomorrow) in Sheffield. So, ‘Hi Anabelle from Granny and Grandad!’
Our reflection yesterday was on friendship – Jesus gathering his friends for his last meal on earth. Today, we see how, after such an amazing experience Jesus has to deal with an issue that had the potential blow apart this group of close friends and so the beginning of the early church. Jesus confronts the issue of un Godly comparison and the ensuing envy, jealousy and arguments it always brings – a very modern topic. Today’s Bible reading is Luke 22:24-38 and our focus verse is v27 where Jesus is showing us a better way to live.
But I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves.
Do you sometimes compare yourself to other people? If we’re honest we all do it sometimes – it’s that ‘If only’ moment…’. In itself comparison is not always a bad thing; positive role models in life are good and can help develop potential in our lives. However comparison, if unchecked, can become a burden and lead in the wrong direction in life.
It’s good to see that the disciples of Jesus were often just like us as we see in today’s Bible passage, as they asked which of them would be the greatest! (v24) It is always a temptation to compare ourselves or our work for God with others. It can lead to pride, jealousy, frustration and anger – not a good way to live!
As Christians, we follow Jesus our great role model, so we really don’t need to spend our time comparing ourselves to others, to be seen as ‘special’ or ‘great’ or ‘better’. We of course do the best we can each day, in our work, with our family, in our relationships etc. but in the end there is only one opinion that really matters – ‘what does Jesus think? Remember that when Jesus looks at you today, in his eyes you really are amazing!
Jesus points out here that the values of the Kingdom are the complete opposite to the world. ‘Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It’s not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant … and then this amazing life changing verse in which we see THE ultimate role model showing us clearly how to live
I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves’ (vv.25–27, MSG).
We then have a great conversation between Simon Peter and Jesus about what being a disciple means. Peter was very confident that he would not let Jesus down, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!” (v.33). Jesus knew that Peter would fail, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.” (v.34). “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (v.32). We know that in the end, even though he seemed to mess up, Peter’s faith did not fail!
“I have prayed for you,” says Jesus. Prayer brings our human condition with its all its flaws before God. Jesus shows here that prayer is vital – he prayed – and it really does make a difference. We don’t really know how prayer works but the more we do it the more we realise it does work! Yesterday at STC we held one of our our Days of Prayer with hundreds of people praying in church and at home, at work etc. Literally thousands of prayers were offered yesterday and we know they WILL make a difference! Jesus prayed and so should we – your prayers today, this week and in the weeks to come will really make a difference in your life and the lives of those you pray for. Thank you for praying!
Prayer releases the power of heaven; this power releases love and a heart of service towards other; a servant heart always overcomes an unhealthy spirit of comparison. Servant hearted people don’t compare, they just serve!
Lord, thank you that on the cross, you released me from the power of pride and jealousy. From constantly having to spend my time comparing myself to others. The closer I come to you each day the more I see YOU are my great role model. Help me to see that today and live in that freedom. Amen.
READING: Luke 22:24-38
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’
But he replied, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’
Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.’
Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’
‘Nothing,’ they answered.
He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: “And he was numbered with the transgressors”; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.’
The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’
‘That’s enough!’ he replied.