Summary: Using Jesus Gethsemane experience of "going on a little further" He is seen as going further in compassion, commitment and courage.
Going on a Little Further
Illustration: Gordon MacDonald said, “You can tell whether you are becoming a servant by how you act when people treat you like one.”
How do you react when you are treated like a servant? I must confess that my reaction isn’t always a prime example of Christian servanthood. As a matter of fact we often consider the very minor inconveniences in our lives as marks of our servanthood. These usually fall into the shadows when compared with the service of others. How many would be willing to give their vacation time much less their lives in the slums of Calcutta, India freeing the people from poverty and disease? How many would be willing to be confined on an island of leper colonies rescuing the lepers from their prison of seclusion and sadness? As extreme as these commitments may be when compared with our own service, they are really nothing compared to the extreme commitment Jesus made.
Jesus made a difference in our lives by breaking the chains of our prison with his love, mercy and grace. The result is a position in the heavenlies and the privileges of God’s daily grace and purpose for our lives. Jesus is worthy of our faith and worship today because he has sees our path, senses our pain, and solves our problems. This morning let’s note together the reason why Jesus has made a difference in our lives. Perhaps, we can follow his example and make a difference in the lives of others.
Jesus life was motivated by three factors that resulted in his obedience to God and caused God to “highly exalt Him and give Him the name which is above every name” – a name that would cause “every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” In each of these three areas Jesus “went on a little further.”
Read: Matthew 26:36-46
While in our text the phrase “went on a little further” is obviously referring to physical distance, it is also true that Jesus went further in other ways as well.
I. Jesus Went a Little Further in Compassion
Jesus expressed his compassion to those who loved Him as well as to those who did not. What is compassion? Is it pity? No! Jesus could have pitied us from his home in Heaven. Having pity is just saying, “I feel sorry for you.” Is compassion sympathy? No! To sympathize with someone is merely to say, “I feel for you.” Compassion goes beyond these – compassion sees people in need and does something about it. We may be aware of a person eating bread and water to survive and feel sorry for them. We might even be able to remember when we had little food in the house and be able to feel for them, but we have not shown compassion until we are moved to get some good food and take it to them.
Illustration: Last spring, Mr. Alter’s fifth-grade class at Lake Elementary School in Oceanside, California, included fourteen boys who had no hair. Only one, however, had no choice in the matter. Ian O’Gorman, undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, faced the prospect of having his hair fall out in clumps. So he had his head shaved. But then 13 of his classmates shaved their heads, so Ian wouldn’t feel out of place. Ten-year-old Kyle Hanslik started it all. He talked to some other boys, and before long they all trekked to the barber shop.
"The last thing he would want is to not fit in," said Kyle. "We just wanted to make him feel better." Ian’s father, Shawn, choked back tears as he talked about what the boys had done. He said simply, "It’s hard to put words to."
(Sherman L. Burford, Fairmont, West Virginia. Leadership, Vol. 15, no. 3.)
God put some words to it, though. He said "Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2).
For Christians compassion is one of the evidences of Jesus’ lordship. It is the outworking of the “love of God that is shed abroad in our heart.” It is a reflection of the example of Jesus. That example was demonstrated on numerous occasions, but two examples will provide sufficient evidence of Jesus’ compassion.
First, let us consider John 13:1-5 (read text) as Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. Here we see the Master doing the work of a slave in order to meet the needs of those he loved. In those days it was customary for a slave to wash the feet of visitors. To not provide this kindness would be considered uncivilized and inhospitable. Apparently, there were no servants available to do this job for Jesus and the disciples, so Jesus Himself gets up from the table, pours Himself a basin of water and begins to wash the feet of the disciples. Imagine the amazement that must have filled their minds and faces as their Lord stooped to wash their dusty feet one by one. Even more incredible was something Jesus was doing that was only known by one of the disciples. He was washing the feet of the very man who would later betray Him to his enemies. Jesus washed the feet of Judas!