The Least / Servant of All
Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost Trinity Lutheran Church
20 September 2015 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
St. Mark 9:30-37
Well, brothers and sisters, you are disciples of the Lord Jesus. Theologians in training you are. He gives you “wisdom” from heaven, (James 3:13-15). Check out the instruction – the ABCs of Christian catechesis. Foundational. To the heart. “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
Right off the bat there’s that title: “Son of Man.” Jesus calls Himself “Son of Man” 81 times in the New Testament! Must be very important. It is! More than you’d ever realize. Every student of the Old Testament knows this language. “Son of Man” is the divine Messianic title from Daniel 7:13-14. Daniel prophesied that the divine “Son of Man” would come in the last days. In the last days the “Son of Man” would exercise all divine authority, glory and power. In the last days the “Son of Man” would establish God’s never-ending kingdom or reign on the earth.
So, here’s the first thing to learn today as a disciple of Jesus: Jesus Himself is the DANIEL-7-SON-OF-MAN-MESSIAH! I.E. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is God walking on the earth. So, with Jesus, the last days have arrived. With SON OF MAN Jesus come the divine authority, glory and power of the never-ending reign of God on the earth in the person of Jesus Himself!
Got it? Tracking with Jesus so far? Good. Confess Jesus as the Son of Man and you’re a faithful theologian. A trusty disciple. The next part of the catechetical lesson is this. “The Son of Man will be betrayed! The Son of Man will be killed. The Son of Man will rise on the third day.”
Son of Man: Betrayed? Murdered? Resurrected? What? That’s too weird! Puzzling! It doesn’t add up. You are not tracking with Jesus anymore, are you? You don’t seem to understand what Jesus means, right? You’re baffled. It doesn’t compute. “Son of Man,” power, authority, glory, eternal kingdom do not go together with betrayal and murder! In your minds, this simply cannot be! So, you’re too afraid to ask Jesus to clarify.
It is what it is! The teaching of Son of Man Jesus, that is. Especially about what it means for Him TO BE the Son of Man! “The Son of Man will be betrayed! The Son of Man will be killed. The Son of Man will rise on the third day.”
The all power-glory-and-authority-Jesus exercises his divine Son of Man-ship as He humbly and humiliatingly dies on a cross! Good Friday’s cross! There He hangs. Dead. The least! The last. Like a total and colossal loser! But that’s precisely how He reigns as the all-powerful Son of Man. The divine glory of His eternal kingdom in the last days consist of this: Jesus meekly dies as the UNASSUMING SERVANT FOR YOU / IN YOUR PLACE / AS YOUR SAVIOR!
Incredibly, what you’d never put together, what never computes (in your minds) – happens FOR YOU in, with and under Jesus Himself! THE ALL POWERFUL DIVINE SON OF MAN BEARS YOUR FLESH AND SUFFERS HIMSELF TO BE THE SERVANT OF SALVATION! This is what it takes to save you and all sinners. Behold, the divine Son of Man Jesus takes your sin and all its damnation. He takes your sin from you and applies it to Himself – physically bears it all in His divine Body brutally stapled to the cross. He is your Son of Man Substitute! Your Son of Man Savior! By His Son of Man shed, divine Blood on the cross you are forgiven! All your sin answered for! Including the sin against children – sins of commission and omission. On the cross His Son of Man gift of salvation FOR YOU is accomplished! A done deal! Done only in His Good Friday dying! He did it! FOR YOU! “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
Here’s the bottom line: either all your sin remains on you and you get damned with it or all your sin is on Jesus and you are forgiven/saved! Which is it? Jesus categorically promises you salvation. The Son of Man salvation! “The Son of Man will be betrayed! The Son of Man will be killed. The Son of Man will rise on the third day.”
Then comes the second part of Son-of-Man-Jesus’ catechetical preaching/teaching. The utter humility of His cruciform dying FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR SALVATION puts to bed – puts an end – puts to death you’re asking the question of who is the “greatest” or “first”! All your trying to be the “greatest” and the “first” is the foolish “wisdom” of the world. Your relentless -with-all-your-might-desire to be the greatest and first (even if it’s veneered with a sugary sweet religiosity and piety) leads to all kinds of destruction. When you exalt yourself as king of the hill and bash in the teeth of everyone that opposes your kingship, you edify no one. You help nobody. You destroy and hurt. All that’s left is bitterness, self-ambition, quarreling, and fighting. The “greatest” – the “first”: hellacious wisdom! Of which Son of Man Jesus would repent you today.
Consequently, Son of Man Jesus teaches you and gives you the freedom of what it really means to be great in the kingdom of God. To be great or first as His disciple is to be “THE VERY LAST” or “SERVANT OF ALL”! Did you hear that? Better hear it again: “Anyone,” Jesus says, (and that includes you) “who wants to be first must be the very last and the servant of all.” This is the very good – very Good Friday — use He has for you as you live in this world as His disciple. You are the greatest, you are the first, WHEN YOU ARE THE LEAST AND THE LAST – sacrificially giving of yourself in love to those in need!
Jesus illustrates His point. He “takes a child in his arms.” A child? Really? Yes, a child! He lowers Himself to be concerned for them too. He came for them too! He doesn’t leave them out of the Good Friday care of His cross. “Let the little children come to me,” He says, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it,” (Mark 10:14-15).
No doubt you’ve noticed what’s been happening for decades and especially the last few years with the children in our country. Especially the unborn. At least I hope you have. And I pray that you do not ignore it. It is what the Epistle for today calls: “earthly, unspiritual and demonic” (James 3:15). It is an incalculable devastation that takes place right under your noses. In nice office buildings. Where people are well dressed and highly educated. Perpetuated and promoted by the self-exalted ELITES, the FIRSTS and the GREATESTS in the moneyed and affluent one percent of Washington D.C., Pennsylvania Ave., and their sycophants that supposedly do everything “for the children” yet religiously defend and unrepentantly and brazenly support the murder of children in and outside of the womb at the conservative count of over 40 million since 1973.
The wisdom of all these FIRSTERS and GREATESTS is that children, especially those in the womb are nobodies and nothings. Worthless blobs of tissue that must be eliminated so that women and the world are not inconvenienced or burdened in any way. They have better words than the Lord’s! The Fifth Commandment’s protection of life doesn’t apply to the unborn with these people. The woman’s exaltive right to choose trumps all. That is their make believe first commandment!
The mythical constitutional “right” to murder your own children while they grow in the womb has become the infallible and incontestable religion our country! It is the litmus test of what it means to be an American and an obedient disciple of the American pagan religion. No dissenters or false worshippers are allowed in this religion of the FIRSTERS and GREATESTS and her kowtowing black robed cronies that are intoxicated from the spiked wine of her adulteries.
Exaltation of the self – the desire to be and act as a divinity – unsurprisingly leads to the vicious and systematic destruction of … children. Miss Tennessee, a recent Miss America contestant, revealed herself to be a true worshipper at the altar of the FIRSTERS and GREATESTS – justifying the murder of children by approvingly spinning the funding of Planned Parenthood because women at these clinics “supposedly” receive mammograms and other sorts of feminine health care. (That’s totally false, by the way!) As she spun the institutional lies — the crowd and TV audience applauded and fawned. And the Planned Parenthood surgeons continue to do their dirty work: barbarically and systematically murdering babies and harvesting their body parts for exorbitant profit.
Jesus, however, gives you, His disciples heavenly wisdom. Listen again to the mind-blowing and joy-filling Son-of-Man-commentary as He holds the little child in His arms: “Whoever welcomes one of these little ones in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Taught by those divine words of Son of Man Jesus — Good Friday-ed and forgiven for every and all sin – even for the taking of life in whatever way including a baby’s life in the womb — you are now free to live your life differently. Through faith in Jesus who has forgiven you everything, you are free to lower and debase yourself to welcome, serve and protect the most vulnerable among us. It’s high time to exercise your freedom in Christ to protect and to love the children. To be the least, the last, and servant of all – especially the children.
“Whoever welcomes one of these little ones in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” Brothers and sisters, as you serve the children you serve Christ and God the Father Himself! The disciple of Jesus goes the way of the servant. An audacious and risk-taking little Christ for the neighbor. No self-seeking motives. Generous. Open-hearted. Because the children need your love – your help. As you serve child, you’re serving Christ / God the Father!
What joy in then taking care of your kids as parents. Relish the opportunity to be the least – the very last – the Lord’s servant to them in your family. Seeing to their physical and spiritual needs. Daily bread. Heavenly bread. You are also citizens. Exercise your citizenship. Use opportunities to help and protect the unborn children. Vote. Speak. Blog. Tweet. Write. Run for office. Speak the truth of Jesus’ wisdom to those in power. Call the FIRSTERS and GREATESTS to repentance! Don’t be shy about it! No matter who they are.
And pray. Pray for Son of Man Jesus to raise up courageous men and women in positions of authority who will defend the unborn and work to undo legalized abortion in our country. Pray also for your repentance and for the repentance of the FIRSTERS and GREATESTS. For changed hearts and lives that live according to God’s wisdom. Pray like Jesus: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Yes, forgiveness. The Good Friday forgiveness of Son of Man Jesus. Handed over. Killed. Raised on the third day. FOR YOU AND FOR ALL. For your life and salvation.
In the name of Jesus.
See the expose at http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/cmp/investigative-footage/;