Christ the Servant
By Bill Blakey on June 6, 2022
Christ the Servant
By Bill Blakey on June 6, 2022
I was privileged this week to have meetings with two different groups of men here at the church. We got together, and the topic of our discussion was the scriptures, the scripture of the day. And those were two of my favorite times I had this week, just getting together with other brothers here at the church, and really paying attention to what God has to say to us in the Bible. And I don't know about you, but it feels like when I'm paying attention to the word on my own, when I'm getting together and I'm paying attention to it with a group of people, like God is doing a transforming work through his word, like he is changing me regularly. And I hope that that's something that you're okay with, that God wants to do in your life, right? Like God wants to change you. God wants to continue to mold you and shape you all throughout your life.
And as I was reading the scripture of the day over the last weeks, I came across a passage that I thought it would be good for us to pay attention to, and Lord willing, we will see him transform us through His Word. So would you open your Bible with me to Matthew chapter 20, ripped from the headlines of scripture of the day, Matthew chapter 20. And we are going to look at, really keying in on, verses 25 through 28 of Matthew chapter 20. But we'll read starting in verse 20 of Matthew chapter 20. And in honor of God's word, I invite you to stand and read the scriptures together with me. And if you're out on the front lawn, or if you're watching this online, we'd invite you to stand as we honor God's Word together. This is verse 20 of Matthew chapter 20. Says, "Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And 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 at your left in your kingdom?' Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?' They said to him, 'We are able,' He said to them, 'You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and that my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my father.' And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called to them and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them, it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant. And whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
That's the reading of God's word. You can take a seat. Now, this is one of the unfortunate moments with the disciples where James and John have their mom do their talking for them. Right? She comes up to him, and two of these twelve disciples are brothers, and she's just like, 'Yeah, the seats of highest honor on the right and the left, just flanking you, look great in the photograph. What mom wouldn't want to have that picture of her two boys, right there next to Jesus? And the response of the other ten -- What is it? Ah, that'd be sweet. No, they are indignant because they're thinking, Wait a minute, I deserve one of those seats; like I should be sitting on the right or the left. Right? Like, if there's the podium, I want to be in one of those top three spots. If Jesus is the first, well then, I'm at least going to be second or third. But I'm going to be up there. Right? And so we have this moment, where it's like, among the disciples, there is this jockeying for position -- right? -- they are all, the constant question in their mind is, like, who's the greatest? And I think it's me, right? Like I am the answer to that question. It's like they're on the way to Jerusalem at this point. And Jesus is almost, like, we've got to pull over; let's pull the van over to the side of the road. And we got to have a little teaching moment here. And I think it's instructive for his disciples, but also very instructive for us here today. And in verse 25, it says, "But Jesus called and said, 'you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.'"
So, he's just saying that, Hey, the common way that it was back in that day, which is also the common way that it is today is everybody's trying to move themselves up. Right? People are trying to take authority over other people; people are trying to suppress other people. There's a lot of times where the common thought is like, let me kind of bring you down so I can elevate myself. And you can see the difference between where you are and where I am. That's going on all over the place today. Right? We see the virtue signaling where I'm going to call out some other group that they don't really get this. But I, I've really got this. You know, we've got even in our relationships as husbands and wives, so many of them are really just jockeying for control and power over the other. Right? That we've got parents who are really domineering over their children and controlling over their children. We've got children who, they don't want to be -- they don't want their parents to have any authority. They want to rebel against that authority, and they want to do whatever they want. They've got, we've got bosses who are, like, I am the boss. And they are letting everyone know that they are the boss. And then we got employees thinking, like, Let's unionize, and we'll be the boss, and we'll tell our employers what to do. We've got the power, I mean, governmental leaders, there used to be this phrase public servant that I think was thrown around in America, which doesn't quite have the same ring today as maybe it used to in the past.
So, this is the natural way that people all around us are thinking about life is, How can I move up the ladder? How can I get more of a position? How can I be viewed as higher, as greater? Right? That's a common thing that people are still be thinking about today. And Jesus says something very corrective, and very clear, in verse 26, it says, he says, "It shall not be so among you". No. We've got to be transformed from that we got to change our way of thinking. This is the common way that everybody else is thinking in the world today, not so among you. And then let's pay attention to what he says next, he says, But whoever would be great, or mega -- Right? -- "Whoever would be great among you must be your servant." Alright? "And whoever would be first among you must be your slave."
Now, I don't know what comes to your mind when you hear those two words, servant and slave, but they're, they're not very popular words, in our culture today. I mean, if there's like a rich person who has people who are working for them full time, we won't even call them servants today. Right? We will make up some cooler title than that for them because nobody wants to be called a servant. And if we think about that second word, a slave, that has such a negative connotation, like, Don't even get me started on all the negative thoughts that that word brings up into our mind here this morning. Right? But I know that that happens, because in America, slavery is a part of our history. And it's an ugly part of our history, a sinful wretched part of our history, something that we wish we could go back and do differently now. Right? Something that is still is having all kinds of negative effects in our culture, all kinds of havoc is being reaped by that sin that is still -- those thoughts are still around in our culture here in America today. But if we're going to really understand what Jesus is saying here, we've got to understand that he said it thousands of years before America existed. Right? That he said it in a completely different context than the context that you and I are in, in the year of our Lord 2022. So, we've got to do a little digging. We've got to get outside of our own context for a minute and get back into this context. And to do that we've really got to understand a different language. Because this wasn't really written. The word "slave" wasn't what Jesus said. He said it in the Greek language. So, can I teach you guys some Greek here this morning? I don't know if you came in hoping to learn another language. But you got some blanks if you take out your notes. You've got some blanks there. Right? And we've got two lines with a dash. And our first word that it says here that you got to be the servant. This is this Greek word, diakonos. Right? So, diakonos, is kind of the noun form and diakoneo is kind of the verb form. So, you know, like in English, we've got words that can be nouns and verbs. A little bit of grammar for you here on a June-Gloom Sunday morning. But diakonos, the definition of this Greek word is, like, someone who serves, hence the translation, servant. Right? Someone who serves like, this is a person who is going to serve. And then this second word here in verse 27, where it says, "whoever be first among you would be your slave." This is this Greek word, doulos. Right? Or douluo is the verb for doulos. I don't know if you've been familiar with these Greek words, but a doulos, it really does mean a slave.
And if you've been reading your Bible, we use the English Standard Version translation of the Bible. There's a lot of other good translations as well. But most of the time when you read the word servant In our English Bible, like this is actually one of the very few places in the ESV where it translates it differently. A lot of times you can read that word servant. And it's like, okay, it could either be the awkwardness, or it could be due loss. But what do loss really means is slave and the ESV, they've chosen to translate it servant because they're, like, Hey, people that are reading the Bible in English, if we put the word slave in there, what they're going to think of is racism. Here in America, they're going to think of where we treated people as less than people based on the color of their skin. And we didn't treat people based on the content of their character. It was completely wrong what we did in America. And in our on our minds, we can't really divorce that word slave from its racial connotations. But back in the context that Jesus is speaking that slavery didn't have the racial connotations that it does to us. Right? Slavery existed. It was going on all over the place. But it was very different. It was sometimes national, like, Hey, our nation came in and we beat your nation, and we conquered you guys. And now you're our slaves. And you serve us. So, we have two different nations that have the same skin color, doing that to one another. That was a very common thing throughout history. Right? Like, even at this point, like, what's the Empire that's ruling the whole world when Jesus is saying this? It's the Roman Empire, right? And maybe they didn't treat every nation like they're slaves, but there wasn't some kind of way in which they were treating people like they were there to serve the Roman Empire. Right?
But probably the most common way that it happened at this time was more of an economic context. Right? Where you could actually like, hire yourself on as a doulos to Diakoneo to serve a family. Like I don't know, where you get your means of living from. I don't know, if you're self-employed, if you're, you're a sole proprietorship, you got an LLC going on. Or if you get your living from a corporation, or something like that. In America, we've got all these legal entities that that like our exist, and a lot of us get our means of living through these legal entities. And you're like, Yeah, actually, I kind of know what you're talking about Pastor Bill, because I do feel like a slave of my job a few times. Right? Like I they expect me to do some things, like I gotta work for this paycheck. Okay. But back in these days, there were no corporations. So, it wasn't like you hide yourself onto a legal entity, it's like you hired yourself on to a household to a person. They're like, Hey, here's this person: I don't own any land, my family didn't have any land. I don't have like a, like a trade that I'm really good at, I can't like make certain things and, like, sell them in the marketplace and trade with people, and get an income where I can provide for my needs through that. And so, I'm gonna hire myself on to someone else to be their slave. And so, like this sounds so foreign to us. It's outside of our context. But even professions that we really have a high respect for, a high regard for, here in America, professions like a doctor, or professions like a teacher, like a teacher of children, like a school teacher. Those are two professions that I've got a lot of respect for. But in in this context, those two roles would have most likely been performed by slaves. So, there was a lot of injustice still going around. There were a lot of masters that were treating their slaves like no person should be treated. But we've got to think about it in its context, right, that this wasn't a racial thing. It had nothing to do with the color of a person's skin in the way that Jesus is saying it right here. Right? But what Jesus is saying -- so he's using these two different words, one of them is more of a servant, someone who serves one of them is a slave. And he's using these two words, to completely flip the thinking of the day on its head. Right? Do you see this? They're all thinking about how can I be great, who is the greatest. And Jesus says, If you want to be great, you got to go low. If you want to be at the top, you got to go to the bottom.
And that's point number one on our notes. We all need to embrace here today, we need to embrace that the top spot is at the bottom, write that down. It's point number one. "Embrace that the top spot is at the bottom."
Our anthem needs to be we're here to serve. Like, we're not here for people to serve us. We're not here for people to think, Hey, I'm something, I'm great. We're here to say, Hey, I want to treat other people like they are more important than I. That is the way that Jesus Christ wants us to think. And I get concerned that a lot of Christians don't seem to want to embrace this way of thinking about themselves. A lot of people might think, Well, the other people that are here at the church? Are they actually here to serve me? That if I'm gonna go to this church, what's in it for me? How are people going to treat me? Am I going to be warmly greeted? Is there going to be a parking spot reserved for me? How's the coffee at this church? Do I like it? Is it my particular flavor? Right? We're not coming in here thinking, how can I serve other people? How can I make them more important than I am? Right? A lot of people, they think, why, Hey, I can kind of just roll in and roll out of a church, and I can be kind of an independent operator. I don't even need to really have much of a relationship with the other people. I'm just sitting in a room taking in the same content. And that's about as far as it goes for me.
Now, I mean, you can write down next to these Greek words, that this word diakonos -- Right? -- this is used 31 times in the Greek Bible, the New Testament as we call it. But actually, this word doulos is used 127 times. Right?
I don't know if you realize this, that the Bible is using this term slave all over the place. Can I take you on a little journey through the Greek Bible here for a moment? Can we go to the book of Romans? Anybody ever heard of that book? Well, you're gonna be hearing about it. I'm going to be hearing about it for a long time at this church. Oh, my goodness, it's going to be sweet. Right? Let's just look at the first three words. Right? Just go to Romans chapter 1, verse 1, and we're gonna get three words in. And let's see what we find there. So, the first word is Paul, anybody know this guy, heard of this guy, Paul? Right, Paul? A. Okay, there we go. And what's the third word? "Servant". Now in your Bible, you got a little footnote there. And you can go way down, though, to the tiny text at the bottom. What does it say down there at the bottom? Doulos, slave. Sometimes it might say bondservant. And then it says for the contextual rendering of the Greek word doulos, see preface. Were basically in the preface they're going to say, hey, we're translating this "servant," because Americans, and people who speak English, they've got such a connotation of racism and slavery based on what happened in America that like, hey, if someone's just picking up the word, and they see slave, how are they not going to think about it that way. And so that's why they translate it servant or bondservant, a lot of the time. But a lot of the times when you see this word servant, it's actually this word doulos. That means slave. And maybe some people were forced into slavery, and some people, like chose to go into slavery, but they're all slaves. And Paul, like the way he's referring to himself, this guy who has planted churches all over the known world, who has preached the gospel. Right? Who God has used in such a great way! How does he think about himself? He thinks about himself as a doulos, a slave, a slave of Christ Jesus. That's how Paul thinks about himself.
If you want to see other places where Paul refers to himself that way you could write down Philippians 1:1. He starts out in that letter saying him and Timothy were both douloses of Christ Jesus. You could write down Colossians 4:2, where he talks about this other guy Epaphras and says he's a doulos. You could write down Paul when he's writing to his bro Titus, and in Titus 1:1 he says, a doulos. And you're like, Alright, Pastor Bill, we get it. Paul thought of himself as a doulos, move on, you've made your point. What about all these other people? Let's go to James the book of James, can we turn over there towards the, the end of the New Testament there after the book of Hebrews, we've got James. James was a leader in the church in Jerusalem, one of the one of the, you would think of the top men here in Jerusalem. And three words in we see James 1:1 James, a servant, and if you go down, it says, or slave, a doulos, James, a doulos of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you heard of this guy, Peter, Peter, anybody? Anyway, Second Peter, go to Second Peter chapter one and the second letter that he writes, he says (you know, he's got like two names here), so we get four words in this time. Second Peter 1:1 "Simeon Peter, a doulos," a servant, a doulos and apostle of Jesus Christ right. Have you heard of this guy Jude, he wrote this book that's just one chapter long. Hey, Jude. Right before Revelation, the second to last book of the of the Greek New Testament, and we've got Jude, and what does he say? "Jude, a doulos of Jesus Christ and brother of James that Jude we actually believe is actually a literal brother of Jesus Christ Himself. Right? And here you are, and you're calling your brother. Like you're a slave of your brother. I have a brother. Ai’nt going to be referring to myself as a doulos of Bobby Blakey. Right? But here he is, he's the brother, and he's saying like, Hey, I am a doulos of Jesus Christ. He grew up in the same household but he knows that Jesus Christ is not just his earthly brother living in the same house as him that he is the Lord. He is the Lord right? If you go to Revelation, one of these, one of these sons of Zebedee, we actually believe it's James and John. James actually seems like he got killed pretty quick. And John, his brother writes Revelation it says, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, and Revelation 1:1, which God gave Him to show to his servants, douloi, plural, the plural of the douloses in English, I guess. The things that must soon take place, he made it known by sending his angel to his doulos, John.
So it seemed like I don't know that the disciples quite got it at this teaching moment where Jesus pulled them alongside, but it seems like, eventually, everybody that we would think of as a top person in the Church of Jesus Christ, how are they referring to themselves? Doulos, doulos, doulos, doulos, doulos. All of them. Seems like that's the way that they wanted to describe. They could choose any way, you know, maybe I'd be like, Hey, I'm an apostle. No, they're all like, I'm gonna doulos. I'm a slave. I'm a slave of Jesus Christ. And notice this, that it's not like, Well, I doulos from time to time for Jesus, right? Like Sundays at the 9 AM service. I do it a little doulosing. Right? Like Tuesday nights with the kids. Little bit of doulosing. This isn't what they were like, Oh, yeah, doulos, I did that last year. I did a little surveying. I think no, you realize how they're talking about it here. Like, this is not an activity that they do, right? Like that might be more diakoneo is that like, that's what I do when I'm serving, but uh, doulos is who I am. Like, that's how they're defining themselves is a slave of Jesus Christ. And I think that we don't, we don't really have a lot of contexts, because like at your job, if you're getting your job, your paycheck from a corporation, and you don't feel like you like what's going on, or you don't feel like you're enjoying your work, you're not finding it as fulfilling as you would like to do, you're free to leave. Right? But when you're a doulos, it's like, you don't get to pick and choose, this is not a part time position that we're talking about here. This is full time. And it's like what the master says, goes.
Turn with me to Luke chapter 17. Because I think we've got to hear from Jesus again, and let him kind of explain to us like, like, what is the thought about this whole doulos thing. It's foreign to us. We don't understand it. We don't have a context for it here in America. What is Jesus say about it? And Luke 17, verse 7, Jesus is talking, and he says, Will any one of you who has a servant or a doulos, right? It might say, or bondservant down there, sometimes bondservant. Anytime you see in the footnote bondservant, you should think that's a doulos, right? That's actually translating this Greek word, doulos. If any of you has to doulos or a servant, plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, come at once and recline at table. Will he not rather say to him, prepare supper for me, and dress properly and serve me while I eat and drink and afterward, you will eat and drink? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So, you also when you have done all that you were commanded, say, we are unworthy doulos. We are unworthy servants, we have only done what was our duty.
This isn't the way we like to think of it in America. We'd like to think like, Hey, I'm free to pick and choose. I'm free to come and go. And I feel like if I do something, I should get a little old-fashioned recognition for my efforts. I should get some attaboys. I should get some good things coming my way. I mean, I don't know if you've ever been out in the field plowing or if you've been keeping sheep. Those sound like jobs I don't want to do. Anybody with me on that? Right? Like the non-plowing enthusiast among us, like people who are like sheep smell; get those away from me. Right? But the point is like, Oh, you've had a long day, you've really served. Oh, it should all be about you now. No, you're gonna serve and then you'll serve some more. Right? Like this whole way that Jesus talks about this is not a I get to pick and choose. I got to do what I want to do. This is like, No, I've got a master who's going to tell me what to do, and I need to follow. And honestly, if we're serving the Lord Jesus Christ, that really, he's saying, Hey, we want to serve one another, or even view ourselves as like so low as we're like a slave towards one another. We're only doing that because our Lord Jesus has told us to, and the way it works in his kingdom is it's like what he says goes. That's so foreign to us in America. We're like, Why I gotta really agree with him. And I see so many people today, they think, well, I'll serve God if -- and they qualify it, they put some kind of proviso, some addendum to this doulos agreement that I've got with the Lord -- like, I'll serve God if I agree with him. Now, if you want me to serve these other people, they'd better be likable. Like they'd better be fun, they'd better be my kind of people. I better enjoy it. They better treat me right. If I'm going to serve them, they'd better say thank you. Gratitude, right? Or, Hey, I'll serve the Lord if he tells me in advance exactly how everything is gonna go. I'll serve the Lord if it's fun and enjoyable. But if it's difficult, if there's suffering, not so sure about that. I'll serve the Lord, if I get my rewards for serving now, when I want them, not later. Or if I get the recognition I deserve. Now, you might be at this point thinking, like, I'm not so sure I like this sermon; like, what have I wandered in here today? I am an American. I'm not going to be a slave. If I have to be a slave to Jesus, if I going to be a doulos, if he wants me to serve all these other people here in the room? That is not for me.
Well, can you hang on a second? Can you bear with me for a moment? Can you turn with me to the book of Thessalonians, First Thessalonians. Right. This is the book that we started off compass HB, we started off studying First Thessalonians. We went all the way through this letter that Paul wrote to a church in Thessalonica. And it was such an exciting thing that Paul went into the city and he preached the gospel and people responded, and there was such a big response that it got an anti response and Paul got run out of town, not many weeks, or maybe even a month later, it was like he was he was run out of town. But there's still this church there. And he wrote them this letter. And he says in verse 8, for not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you, the Gospel has wrung out in Macedonia and Achaia, these areas all around Thessalonica there, this is not only of the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, that everybody's talking about your faith and what God did there. It says, so we don't need to say anything. In verse 9, he says, "For they themselves report concerning us, the kind of reception" among you, like how did it go when Paul went to Thessalonica. And it says, and "how you turned to God from idols to douluo, right? the verb of doulos. To serve to be a doulos of the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. Do you see how Paul describes it here? Was it like they were out there in some kind of neutral Switzerland type territory, where they weren't serving anything? And then they decided to doulos to the living and true God? What were they doing before they did that? They were serving idols.
Now again, it's like, well, this is America. We don't do that here. Well, some people do. And we've actually gotten so smart and so scientific that we've kind of done the same thing, but it looks a lot better. And we just cut out the statue. Right? But the way it worked back in this day, is it's like, I'm gonna worship this idol. I'm gonna worship this false god because I think this false God is going to give me something, like I worship this God, and he's going to cause the rain to come and I'm going to have plentiful crops and we're going to have a harvest and feasting and income and yeah, right. Or, I'm going to worship this god or this Goddess, and you know how I worship this god or this Goddess is I go to their temple. You know what's at that temple? Prostitutes. And I'm gonna worship this god or goddess by having sex. Or I'm gonna watch other people have sex? Does it seem like that's still going on in America today? We've just cut out the middleman of the idol. Like I don't know if you realize that like, right now you're at doulosing something, the question is what master are you serving? I mean, that's what a lot of people are doing. They're thinking, Well, I'm gonna really serve this career of mine. I'm gonna give myself to and I'm gonna give it all my time, my energy, my attention, and then it's going to give something to me. It's going to give me income. It's going to give me this Southern California Orange County lifestyle that I want to have. It's going to give me more square footage, even in this economy, right? I'm going to serve this relationship; I'm going to really give it all to this other person. And I think in return, I'm going to get the happiness that I want to have. I'm going to serve this substance, I'm going to give it control, I'm going to obey it, when it wants me to enjoy it, I'm going to serve it. Serve this desire I have, maybe this desire for sexual immorality that every time it comes knocking, I'm going to say, here to serve. And I'm going to give into it. You see, this is the same thing is going on. We just don't call it that. We just don't label it like that. But like every single person in this room, you are a slave to something right now, what is it?
And you can write down these verses. Write down Romans 6:17 and 18, where Paul is writing to this church in Rome. A passage we'll study where he says, (but I'll just read it for you), "But thanks be to God that you who were once slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you are committed and have been having been set free from sin have become slaves of righteousness." There are so many people around us that don't think of themselves as slaves, but slaves they are, and they are slaves to their sin. As much as they want to stop doing it, they cannot stop doing it. Because sin is a master over them. Write down Titus 3:3. (I will read that for you as well). You can read it again where Paul was saying not just some people out there, he says "we ourselves," so all of us, even Paul's including himself in his writing to his boy Titus, where it's like, Okay, you and I, Titus, all of us, we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures. There's a lot of people around us that are slaves to themselves. They're slaves to what they want. They can't say No to themselves. What master do you serve? I mean, substances? That's a brutal master, another person could be a brutal master, that career that you think is going to pay off for you. And all the right ways could end up eating you up and spitting you out. But if you serve the Lord Jesus Christ, this all makes sense. Because there's no other master like him.
Turn back with me to Matthew chapter 20. Because in Matthew chapter 20, he is saying, what I want you to do when you think about others is I want you to think about yourself as a servant to them, I even want you to, if you really, really want to go there, let's think of yourself as a doulos towards them. Because really, that's the way it works, like I'm the Lord, you're the doulos to me. And it says, even in verse 28, "even as the Son of Man," which is one of Jesus's favorite ways to describe himself, "came not to be served, but to serve." Diakoneo he came to diakoneo, he was someone who serves in his life and to give his life as a ransom for many, that Jesus is not calling you to do anything he has not already done for you. Have you ever thought about that? How Jesus, when he was here on the earth, He didn't come to be served, but he came to serve. Like, what was that like? How did Jesus treat other people? What was his attitude towards other people? Can I take you to John chapter 13? Can we turn over to John chapter 13? Because it seems like in this storyline, we're having this teaching moment right here by the side of the road, and it doesn't seem like the disciples get it. They it's like, it just does not compute they do not change their thinking. And so we get all the way to like the, the time right before Jesus is about to be crucified, and they're celebrating the feast of the Passover here in John 13. And it says, "before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of the world, he's about to be crucified, to the Father, Having loved His own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." Even in this hour, were you thinking I'm gonna die tomorrow. And you're still willing to love other people. During supper when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son to betray him. So, the betrayer is right there among the twelve with them Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands and that he had come from God who was going back to God, he rose from supper, he laid aside his outer garments and taking a towel tied around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Now, if I came up to some of you in the front row, Kyle Hoodman. And I said, Kyle, would you take off your shoes for me? So I can engage with your feet a little bit? I mean, you would be saying No. And I would be saying No. Right? No, no, thank you. I mean, I don't know what your thoughts are about feet. But they've got a certain aroma to them, something that like no candle company has ever wanted a piece of that action. Right? But that's not a pleasant aroma. That's not something that we looked at positively. And in our culture, we've got socks, and we've got shoes, we've got multiple different pairs of shoes, and how do we get from place to place in our culture? We drive cars, and our cars have floor mats, and we vacuum them, right? Like, we don't really engage with the actual dirt. Right? The roads that we drive on, we've got street sweepers who are gonna find you if your car doesn't get moved on Thursdays, right, because we want our streets. We want clean streets here in Orange County, right? We don't even interact with dirt a lot, and still we've got like a negative view on feet and the funk that comes with them. Right? But think about it back in this context. Where like, what are you wearing, right? We don't have shoes, we've got sandals. And we're not talking about like rainbow sandals or like Chacos or something deluxe like that. We're talking about very rudimentary leather sandals. And how are you getting from place to place? Like maybe you're riding on a horse, maybe you've got a burro, a donkey that year you're taking from place to place. But the predominant way that people got around was walking -- walking everywhere. Where like, I don't know, if you are like on a long, like multiple mile walk, like maybe there's like some perspiration that's going on. And that trickles down to the feet. Right? And you're interacting with the dirt. And let me just take it one level deeper for you for a moment. As if you needed to go a level deeper at this point. But how did sanitation work back then? Like the rest room hadn't been invented yet. Like maybe in the 1800s, the outhouse felt like a step up. Like maybe in your house, you would have kind of a clay pot. That would be how you use the restroom. And when the pot was full, what did you do with it? Maybe there was a designated area, kind of outside of town? Or maybe you just threw it in the street?
I don't know. I mean, like throughout history, streets have not been a positive place. Right? Like you're not just walking through dirt. You're walking through the filth. And here is Jesus the Lord. And we're at this feast, we're at this feast of the Passover. And it's like none of the disciples hired to doulos. Like, where was the doulos? Because that would have been the job for the lowest of the low. And none of these guys are going to do it for one another. No, you're asking me to do loss for these other eleven guys not going to do that? Who's the person who's willing to do it? It's Jesus. It's Jesus. And if you look down at verse 12, he says, “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place. He said to them, do you understand what I've done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right for so I am. If I then your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do just as I have done to you truly, truly I say to you a doulos is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” You see what Jesus is saying? He's saying, Hey, I am the Lord. I am the master. I should not have to do this. But yet I was willing to go as low as I needed to go to love these other people. And to serve these other people. I didn't have to -- that's too low. Like this was the lowest of the low that you could go. And Jesus went there. And he said, You know what I want you to do. I want you to do that too.
Do you have a low that you're not willing to go to serve other people? Is there an unbeliever that's just kind of not fun to talk to? And you think well, that's my low? I won't stoop to that. I won't. I won't stoop to having to be patient with someone who doesn't know the Lord, who doesn't have the same viewpoint as I am, right? Like we're all here and a lot of us are saying like, hey, we we've become slaves of Jesus Christ. He has saved us out of our sin. And now we're here together and like some of us still have some rough edges right? Some of us, like, like, we're learning how to love each other. Are you willing to learn that? Are you willing to actually get involved in the lives of other people where there might be times where it's gonna get messy? Are you willing to do that? Now when I think of Jesus serving and Jesus saying that he didn't come, to be served, but to serve, I can't help but thinking of Philippians chapter two. Please go there with me and the book of Philippians. I mean, it's a very similar passage to what Jesus is doing with his disciples here, where he's calling them to serve, and to treat other people is more important than themselves. But then he's talking about his own example. And it says here, in Philippians, chapter 2, verse 5, it says, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking the form of a doulos." By taking the form of a doulos, being born in the likeness of men, right?
You need to write this down for point number two: You need to understand that Jesus chose to doulos for you. Jesus is calling you to serve. Jesus is calling you to be his slave where he's the master. But he was willing to do that for you. I mean, think about this. With me here it says, Jesus, who is in the form of God, so Jesus is one of the with the Father and the Spirit, he is equally God, right? Like he existed in his perfect try unity from the foundation of the world. He didn't need anything. Right? Perfectly happy, in and of himself, in the place of glory, in the place of honor, and the place of recognition. But even then, even that's where he deserves to be forever. He didn't hang on to that he didn't clench his fist around that and say, That's mine. He was willing to give that up. And it says, to take on the form of a servant. And how did he do that? He was born in the likeness of men.
Now, when I was in junior high, my parents moved to Texas, of all places. Right? Like, I grew up in the coastal communities of Southern California, and got taken to Texas, when I was in junior high, and a lot of adjustments. It's like a whole another country over there. And they've got this phrase that they like to say, and you've probably heard of that everything is bigger in Texas. Right? And there's a lot of times where that's a great thing. Right? Like if you haven't been to this grocery store, H E B, in Texas. It's a great grocery store, I guess, right? It's very big. If you haven't heard of this gas station, rest stop called Buc-ees. Right? Anybody heard of Buc-ees? I mean, it's like, they've turned the gas station into a destination in Texas. They've got clean restrooms, they've got all the snacks, like snacks on snacks on snacks. Right? Like you're gonna walk out of there, probably paying $50 for all this stuff that you're buying, but it's but you're happy about it. Right? And so there's all these things that are bigger about Texas, but one thing I didn't really think through is that phrase also applies to the bugs. I don't know if you have an insect that is your least favorite of all the insects. Mine is the cockroach. Right? And I remember, like one point fresh into my experience in Texas, you know, you're going into the bathroom, you're going to take a shower, and right there on the shower curtain I saw that everything is bigger in Texas. Right? Like I don't know if you've seen one of the cockroaches indigenous to these regions. Right? How it's, you know, yay big. But in Texas, it's like, Yay, big, right? Like, like, Oh, my goodness. And we have this moment right there. Me, me and this insect and I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure what's going to happen next. And it flies at me. And that was the day that from that point on Cockroaches have been my enemies, my sworn enemy for the rest of my life to this day. If I see a cockroach, it's kill on site no quarry will be given to the cockroaches. I mean, are there species that were created after the fall into sin? If so, I think cockroaches are right there on the list. Right? And I've thought about this as I thought about this passage in Philippians two before of like, what would it be like? I got four kids, which I love have and are humans. What would it be if I like said to one of my kids, like, I want you to go become a cockroach, this enemy species, and I want you to live as a cockroach among the cockroaches? And I want you to serve the cockroaches.
We're starting to get a little bit of an idea of like, here's Jesus, who's the Creator, who made everything, that he's going to become a part of His creation. And when he's a part of His creation, it's not going to be all about him. But he's going to be here to serve. Do you realize, like when it says hadn't come to be served, but to serve, do you realize what Jesus did for you? Like how low would it be for a human to condescend to the level of a cockroach? Well, how low would it be for God himself, to condescend to become a man in the likeness of men, and it says, here in Philippians 2 that being found in human form, in verse 8, he humbled himself by becoming obedient, so he didn't just stop there. He's not just like, here I am a human, he became obedient to what point to the point of death, even death on a cross. And we've talked about this here before, but if you don't know, I mean, death on a cross death by crucifixion, is probably still the most intense way to be tortured and killed at the same time that has ever been invented in the history of the world. I can't think of anything probably more humiliating and excruciating than to go through crucifixion.
Go back with me to the book of Isaiah, keep one finger here in Philippians. But go back with me to Isaiah because what it talks about here in Philippians 2 was actually predicted 700 years before it happened. In Isaiah, chapter 52, God is talking to the people of Israel through the prophet Isaiah, and he is saying, in verse 13, it says, "Behold, my servant." Right? Like this is written in Hebrew. But if there were to be there is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. And this is kind of the Hebrew word that means slave to servant. My servant shall act wisely. Verse 13, he shall be high, and lifted up and shall be exalted. But what kind of high and lifted up are we talking about? As many were astonished at you. His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind. So shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths, because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard, they understand, but who is believed what he has heard from us, and whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or majesty that we should look at him and know beauty, that we should desire him. When Jesus came, he wasn't the king-man where everybody's like, I'm pretty sure that's God in the likeness of men right there. Jesus was just a normal, everyday looking person. He didn't have anything special about him. But then when he went to the cross, He says He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised and we esteemed him not. I mean, if you think about it, here's Jesus, and it says he's marred beyond human semblance, that the beatings that he endured before he got crucified, and then the actual act of crucifixion, it was like you were looking at a beaten bloody pulp of matter up there that you didn't even think was human and you couldn't even look at him. It was so intense to behold.
But even more than the physical beating and the crucifixion, it says in verse 4, surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed him stricken and smitten by God and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed. We, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. You see, when you live in your life serving some other god or serving yourself or serving your own desires, that was transgression that was iniquity. That didn't make sense. Why? Why? Why would you do such a thing? Why would we do such a thing, and we all every one of us have turned away. And Jesus came to serve you by dying on the cross so he could take your sin away. He could take your griefs away that he could, he could take the sorrow that you're serving of this other master of your sin had brought into your life, that he would take that sorrow upon himself, that he would bury your grief in your place, that he would die so that you could live. Jesus didn't come to be served. He came to serve.
Go back with me to Philippians 2. It says he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, Jesus went low, Jesus took on the form of a doulos as he went as low as you could possibly go. Therefore, verse 9, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. So that's the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. You know, what makes sense when Jesus came not to be served, and to serve and to give his life for you, is that now he would be your Lord. That's the only thing that makes sense. Wait, wait, you're going to serve some other master that's going to leave you high and dry. That's going to promise you satisfaction and happiness, and leave you empty and broken and bitter and ashamed. You're going to choose to serve sin, you're going to choose to serve yourself, when there's a master that you could serve who's already served you? That doesn't make sense at all? How could you do anything but bow the knee to Jesus and make him the Lord of your life where it's like, I'm now to doulos. Whatever you say, I'm here to do. Whatever you want me to do. Every knee should bow. If you're going to serve something, what better Master is there to serve than Jesus? Because he's not a domineering Lord. He's not someone who's going to treat you wrong. He's going to treat you right. And he's going to treat you right forever.
Go with me to Luke chapter 12. We've got to see this in Luke chapter 12. We've been, we've been reading a little bit at the end of Matthew about how the end is going to come and what's going to happen. And Jesus has been using this master servant kind of paradigm and analogy all throughout the book of Matthew that we've been reading. But if we go over to Luke 12, and in chapter 35, there's kind of a similar cross reference type of passage to some of the ones we've been reading this week, where it says in verse 35, of Luke 12, "stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so they may open the door to him at once, when he comes in knocks, bless it are those douloses, whom the master finds awake, when he comes. Truly, I say to you (get this), he will dress himself for service and have them recline a table, and he will come and serve them." Jesus didn't just serve you 2000 years ago, when he died on the cross. He's gonna keep serving you. Like right now Jesus is always living to make intercession for you right now, Jesus is ready before the throne of God to give you mercy and grace in your time of need. Jesus said that he went away to prepare a place for you that he would bring you to so that you could be with him.
Do you realize what Jesus has done? He's going to serve us in the future. And I'll go back to Matthew 20. Because it says, "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." Now, this word ransom is only really used here in this passage and in a passage that is a cross reference in another gospel, but what this word means -- you want to know what it means. It's the price of a slave. It's the price that you pay, to purchase a slave for yourself. See Jesus, he has paid that price. He wants to set you free from your sin. He wants to set you free from yourself, but not free to serve yourself, free now to serve Him as your Lord. And Jesus has given us a job to do my friends. Jesus has entrusted us with things that he wants us to be about.
Now just turn over to Matthew 25. Some of us were reading this passage On Friday, Matthew chapter 25, where it talks about this parable of the talents in it, and it says, it's "like a Master who goes on a journey and he called his" what? doulos, or douloi, which is plural, many douloses and "entrusted to them his property and one he gave five talents." and talent is kind of like a weight or a measurement of money "and to another two and to another one each according to his ability, then he went away." And it's like he who received the five talents and verse 16. In Matthew 25, "he who had received the five talents, went at once and traded with them and he made five talents more. So also he had the two talents made two talents more, but he received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his masters money. Now, after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more saying, Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I've made five talents more and his master said, Well done, good and faithful, doulos. You've been faithful over a little I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." Oh, there is great reward. In serving the Lord. There is great reward and the sameto the two. Right? You've been faithful of little I will enter I will set you over much Enter into the joy of your master. And he you also in verse 24, "had received the one talent came forward and saying, Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. So I was afraid. And I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours. But his master answered him, You wicked and slothful servant, you know, that you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed, then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers and that might come in, I should have received what was with my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to them, who has the 10 talents for to everyone who has more will be given and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not even what he has will be taken away and cast the worthless doulos into the outer darkness. And that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Maybe we got to understanding something very, very clear here friends, is that slaves serve slaves do the will of their master. And if you're here and you're saying, Yeah, I'm a slave of Jesus, I'm with him. I'm a part of his team. But you're not doing anything with what he's entrusted to you. What is he going to think about you when he returns?
I mean, God has given us a job to do when I'm thinking about this message. There is actually a lot riding on whether you and I and we, as a church together, will embrace this thought about myself that I'm a doulos. So I'm here to serve. Right? I mean, how could it go anywhere else when Jesus is like, Hey, I'm the Lord, but here to serve, and here to serve all the way to the cross for you. And for us to not say we're going to be here to serve one another. Right? When all of God's people, right, that we've got examples of in the Scripture, when they're like, I'm gonna doulos, I'm gonna doulos, I'm gonna doulos, that we would think that there's some other way that we can exist in the family of God and His Kingdom and not be a doulos. That doesn't make sense. Like, he's the master, we're here to serve. And if we embrace this thought about ourselves, I mean, I'm even just thinking about this summer season that we're getting into. Right? Maybe this is a season that as you've been thinking about it now, it's really been all about you. It's been all about you and your family. And what you want to do and your life is just revolved around you, and God's Kingdom, and the quarter of a million souls that are going to be lining Main Street watching the Fourth of July parade, that right now are being pummeled by their slavery to sin that they are like submitting themselves over and over to a Master who is evil, who is not doing what is good for them. And we know how they can be set free, and we won't go tell them because we've got our own plans.
This word doulos has become one of my favorite words. And you might think, well, that's a little weird. Slave being your favorite word. And it's not a favorite word, because of the fact that it means slave. It's a favorite word of mine, because I'm hoping that Jesus will call me his good and faithful doulos. That I want to hear Jesus say to me, Enter into the joy of your master. You've been faithful. In a little while I'm going to set you over much. What must that be like? I think if we all embrace this about ourselves, if we all think, well, this is who this is what Jesus has done, he's paid the price for me to take me out of slavery to evil masters so that I could serve Him, that there's no other master like him who has been a slave to me, who has served me. How can I want to serve anyone or anything else? If we all think that way, then we're going to find ways to serve, you're going to start thinking about all those souls that need someone to come and go low for them. Someone who's going to be patient, someone who's going to put in the time to have a conversation about the gospel and repentance, and faith and answer their questions. And read the Bible with someone else here at the church who's going through a tough time and needs you to encourage them, need you to speak the truth and love to them to build them up. If we all embrace this, I can't wait to see what God does. And it does seem that these sons of Zebedee, and the nine besides Judas, it does seem like they really got this at some point. And they just fully embraced it. I think it took the Holy Spirit, but they fully embraced it. And then it was like, boom, the church was exploding everywhere. Like there's believers more than ever, all of these thousands of people getting saved, because a bunch of people said, I'm here to serve. I'm gonna doulos for Jesus Christ. So let that be so among us.
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