Summary: Jesus deserves our worship
Theme: We worship the Son of God
Text: Jer. 11:18-20; James 3:16-4:3; Mk. 9:32-37
A few weeks ago the press carried a news item that another European parliament had approved a bill giving homosexual marriages the same legal status as heterosexual marriages. They have even gone further by allowing those who contract such marriages the right to adopt and bring up children. Many people are accepting such changes and a few Churches and some ministers have given their approval by performing such marriages. Is this not happening because we have forgotten or no longer pay any attention to the Word of God? What is happening in the world today should remind us of one of the main themes of Scripture - the difference between being led by the Spirit of God and His Word and being led by man’s own imagination and thinking. The Christian should be able to discern the difference between the two, between God’s leading and man’s leading, between the truth as revealed by Scripture and the ‘so called truth’ as revealed by human imagination and thinking. If we are to understand the Bible correctly, we must maintain the biblical perspective that has been handed down through the ages because God’s truth does not change. We can describe it in different words but the truth that has been understood by the saints through the ages remains the same. To change the truth is to lose the gospel and in every generation, our own included, the church has had to struggle with this danger. Church history is full of it and the belief in teachings contrary to the teachings of Scripture has led to the formation of many different religious groups and religions, and this practice still continues today. When we fail to study the Scriptures we open ourselves up to the dangers of such teachings, which always begins with a very simple idea, which appeals to the mind and which with time, becomes more complex and is taught as truth although it contradicts Scripture. It often begins, like in the case of Jesus’ disciples, in a simple argument about who is greater or who comes first. Thinking this way immediately shifts our focus from Christ to ourselves and this can easily lead to error. Our thoughts should always be centred on Christ because He is the one we worship. We worship the Son of God.
We worship the Son of God by obeying His commands and following His example of service. According to Christ’s own words those who are great in the kingdom of God are the ones who obey His command to serve others out of love and compassion. This is the reason why Jesus taught His disciples over and over again the importance of having a right view of themselves, the importance of having a right view of others and the importance of having the mind set of a servant. If we knew these things and understood them we would have no problem serving. In spite of all His teachings the disciples, and we are included, were more concerned about themselves and their privileges than about their duties and responsibilities to God. They wanted the reward without the service, the benefits without the commitment and the blessings without the dedication.
Living the life of Christ is to live a life of service. At His last meal with His disciples before His crucifixion, it was evident that the disciples still did not understand what it meant to serve. Before the meal it was necessary for their feet to be washed but not one of them was prepared to do this. They felt too important to perform such a menial task. In those days, people ate an evening meal while reclining on a couch or cushions on the floor around a low table. Before settling down however, everybody removed his or her sandals. Naturally, it wasn’t very pleasant for some if you had dirty smelly feet, which was often the case because they had to walk along dusty and dirty roads littered with garbage, refuse and animal waste. Because of this reason the host normally had a servant or slaves at the door to wash the feet of each guest and dry them with a towel. It was a disagreeable job, but it had to be done if the guests were to enjoy the fellowship and the meal together. On this particular occasion no servants were present and no one was prepared to serve. So Jesus washed their feet to remind them of what He had taught them in a way they could not forget and we would also remember. However, when it comes to serving we easily forget what Christ taught and practiced and behave like crabs. We are all familiar with crabs, which for many of us are a delicacy. They can be prepared in different ways and find their way into many different Ghanaian dishes and some of us will be enjoying them this afternoon. Studying the behaviour of crabs we will find them behaving in ways we can easily identify with. The pull him down behaviour we have all heard about and which has become a part of our lives is a description of the way crabs behave. When live crabs in a pot are about to be cooked, you do not need to worry about putting a lid on the pot because they would not climb out. Not that they do not have the ability to do so, they have. They cannot because they do not understand how. When one tries to climb out of the pot, another crab would prevent it from doing so by pulling it down and climbing over it. They end up pulling each other down and not one of them is able to escape. Things would have been completely different if they would help each other, if they knew what it means to serve – hanging on with one claw and reaching out with the other to help another up. Do we really understand what it means to serve? How many of us would wash someone else’s dirty feet? Would we not be more concerned about our status and standing in the society than serving another person? The greatest in the Church is the one who serves.