SS Lesson for 03/24/2013
Devotional Scripture: Gal 5:13-15
The lesson examines the The Privilege of Serving God. The study's aim is to show how Jesus, through the Last Supper, taught us that the greatest among His disciples is the one who serves. The study's application is to challenge those who wish to be great leaders to take the servant's role.
26 "But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.
Serving, we sing songs about it. It is the central theme of many dynamic messages. Books extol its virtues for the life of believers, and every Christian wants to be considered a servant . . . until he or she is treated like one. The disciples of Jesus had some problems with the concept of serving. Three of the four Gospel writers included an incident in which the Lord told the disciples that service was the essence of greatness. Sadly, the night Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his men, they proved they had not learned the lesson He had taught. On an evening when Jesus announced that He was going to die and become the fulfillment of what the Passover lamb symbolized, the disciples seemed oblivious to His emotional distress, They were arguing about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom. Why is the concept of service so hard for believers to put into practice? Perhaps it is because the very essence of the sin nature within us is selfish. Satan himself patterned the kind of arrogance and self-promotion in Isaiah 14 that exists in the hearts of all men. He was determined to be like God. As some have noted, every Christian wants to serve God—but most in an advisory capacity only. Some Christians, however, have truly learned the joy of serving. They understand why Jesus taught the principle. When William Booth was very old, he was preparing to send his annual Christmas message to Salvation Army posts around the world. Possibly because of financial concerns, he chose only one word; but it encouraged those members to focus on what truly mattered—"others." How others-centered are you? A missionary went to evangelize the people of central China. When he began to tell them about Jesus, the people pressed close to hear. "This Man cared more for others than for Himself," he explained. "Yes, we know him. He used to live here," the natives answered. The missionary was certain they did not understand. He explained that Jesus healed many people and that He had actually died for them. The natives responded again that they knew the man of whom he spoke and that he had once lived there. Then they took the missionary to a grave at the edge of the village. In the ground lay the body of a missionary doctor who had brought the good news of salvation to the tribe. He had loved them and healed their diseases; but in so doing, he had contracted one of those diseases and died while showing God's love to them. The new missionary finally realized that a medical missionary had preceded him. That man had so embodied the life and ministry of Jesus that when Christ's life was described, the villagers explained, "We know him; he used to live here." Would the people in the world around you mistake you for Jesus because of your love and the selfless service you perform? Do your neighbors feel as if they live next door to Jesus? Does the cashier at the grocery store think the Saviour is going through her line when you check out? Christians are the Lord's representatives on this earth until the Master returns. Our selfless service reveals that we are His children.
The concept of the major outlines came from Bible Expositor and Illuminator Commentary and was determined by reviewing the Scriptural Text.
This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you
Serving Because of a Covenant
But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table
Serving Despite Opposition
I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me
Serving As A Privilege
Christians have shared in the Lord’s Supper millions of times in the last 2,000 years. These celebrations trace their origin to a single meal shared by Jesus and his disciples in an upstairs room in Jerusalem. That was a bittersweet time for Jesus: he had looked forward to this fellowship meal, yet he knew that he would be betrayed that night by one of his friends. He knew that that betrayal would set in motion a series of events leading to his crucifixion. At that historic meal, Jesus asked his disciples to remember him whenever they reenacted the meal in the future. This week’s lesson studies Luke’s account of this meal so that we might better understand and remember what our Savior faced on that night. Each of the four Gospels has an account of the last supper, with varying details. For example, John records the meal, but makes no mention of the institution of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus. Luke is unique is telling of more than one cup used by Jesus. These distinctives are not in conflict, and each adds to the rich picture of the last supper. Luke 22:7, which precedes today’s lesson text, describes the occasion of the last supper as “the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” This would have been Friday, before the Sabbath/Saturday of that week. We must remember, however, that most Jews reckoned a new day as beginning at sundown, so their Friday would have begun at sundown on Thursday by our system. Sundown would have been at about 6 pm, so this Passover celebration by Jesus and his disciples probably took place within the time frame of 7-10 pm on Thursday night by modern reckoning.
Each of the four Gospels begins at a different point. Matthew starts with the birth of Christ; Mark commences with the ministry of John the Baptist; Luke begins with the birth of John the Baptist; and John goes all the way back into eternity, declaring that Christ is God. The beginning points vary, but the Gospels all end up in the same place: the final week of Jesus' life, culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection. From one-fourth to almost one-half of the Gospel accounts focus on this final week of the ministry of the Saviour. Obviously, each evangelist considered these events of paramount importance. That is why the Gospels are not mere biographies. Biographies do not usually give such disproportionate space to a person's final week; then again, in no other case is a person's final week critical to the salvation of multitudes! Coming to the night before the crucifixion, each Gospel details these events in such a manner that we can almost imagine being there.
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.
15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves;
18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
8 He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. 35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness — and I will not lie to David — 36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; 37 it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky."
10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!
21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.
22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"
23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."
12 If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, 14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.
29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
3 Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
12 The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them;
22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
40 And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."
And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. 22 "It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" 23 And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes."
15 "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." 17 "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.
25 And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.'
26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
28 "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.
29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me,
30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
21 "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." 22 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."
34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all."
23 But Gideon told them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you."
2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
3 And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong? 8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.
21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
("Perspective, Personal Ambition, and Prophecy " From the Series: Luke: The Gospel of the Gentiles)
The disciples were not to pattern their lives after the heathen, but rather after their Master. The greatest, Jesus pointed out, was the one who sat at the table—who was served—while the one who stood, the servant, was the lowest. There was no argument that Jesus was the greatest, and yet He told them He was the one who serves (verse 27). When Jesus told His disciples above that the greatest must be the servant of all, He was simply reminding them that they must be like Him. He was not asking them to do anything which He was not doing Himself. How can it be that the greatest—Jesus Christ—is the servant? That answer will be found in the last paragraph of our text. It would appear Jesus is saying that His disciples are never to possess a position of greatness, power, or leadership, but this is not the case. Jesus says in verses 28-30 that His disciples are giving up position and power in this life because they are to obtain it in the next, in the kingdom of God. Jesus never commands men to give up life, money, family, and power for nothing. He calls upon His disciples to give up the temporary and imperfect riches of this life in order to lay them up for the next. These riches are temporary; they are subject to decay and theft. The true riches of heaven will never perish. So too with position and power. We are to give up “first place” and its prerogatives in order to be given a place of honor in His kingdom. In His kingdom, the disciples are promised that they will sit at the table—His table, and that they will be given thrones on which they will be seated, and from which they will rule. The disciples’ preoccupation and debate over their own position, prestige, and power was inappropriate for several reasons. Those Jesus has mentioned thus far are: (1) this is the way the heathen behave; (2) it is the opposite of the way Jesus has manifested Himself, even though He is the greatest of all; and, (3) the preoccupation with greatness is untimely, for that which the disciples were seeking will not come in this life, but in the next. It is neither the disciples’ accomplishments nor their own greatness which gain them a place of power in the kingdom, but it is the Lord who wins this for them. Their blessings and privileges in the kingdom are those which Christ Himself achieves, and then shares with His followers. The Messiah does not “ride on the shoulders of His disciples,” as they seemed to have thought, propelled by their greatness; rather they are carried to their blessings by Him.
Collective memory is important. It has been said that the one who controls the memories of a community controls its future. Some cultures value elderly people because they are the ones whose memory stretches back the furthest. As important as the issue of remembering is, however, another important issue is that of forgetting. Sometimes we wish we had more control over our forgetting, for there are things we would like to forget but cannot. But certain things should be—must be—remembered. A memory that is neglected and unused will fade over the years. Memory works best when it is “jogged.” How do we jog our memories about the most important things in life, things that must not be lost? Families may do this by taking out photo albums of past events, remembering loved ones who are gone but not forgotten. The church has a superb way of remembering the essential truths of the Christian faith in its celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Although there may be many variations in its practice, the Lord’s Supper should always serve to help us remember. The broken bread we use helps us remember the body of Christ, broken in the death on that lonely cross outside of Jerusalem. The cup should help us remember that our salvation was made possible through the blood of Christ, given freely as an acceptable sacrifice for our sins. A paradox of the Lord’s Supper is that while it symbolizes bloody brokenness, it is also a great unifying factor for the church. We remember Christ’s body broken for us, but we should also look for the unbroken body, the church, which is the body of Christ on earth. We should share around the Lord’s table in fellowship, not isolation. This is why it is called Communion, for we have communing fellowship with other Christians and with the Lord. The next time you participate in your church’s celebration of the Lord’s Supper, take time to remember these things: blood as a price for your forgiveness, a body broken out of our Savior’s love for us, and a body (the church) united in allegiance to its Lord.
1. Jesus is still denying Himself for us until we can share His joy with Him (Luke 22:14-16)
2. Jesus is waiting for us to join Him; let us not fail to remember what He did for us (vs. 17-20)
3. It is good to examine our hearts lest we do anything to betray our Lord (vs. 21-23)
4. No one is greater than Jesus; if He could serve, we must never think serving is beneath us (vs. 24-27)
5. The reward for sticking with Jesus is far greater than anything we might give up for Him (vs. 28-30)