Power or People?
Good morning. It’s an honor to be with you again this morning. And I want to say a special thanks to the elders to entrust this most important thing that a church does, the preaching of the Word. To entrust that to me is a high honor and a sort of heavy one, too. So, pray for me as I pray for us, please.
Father, your Word has been opened to us. Would you open us to it? Would you do your work of healing and convicting, of bringing low and lifting up? Father, would you give us exactly what we need as the Great Physician of our souls? I pray especially, Lord, this morning for those who just barely made it here, and it is all they can do to be in this room. I pray for your special grace to them. Father, would you do your work starting with me? There’s nobody in this room who needs your grace more than I do. So, would you start with me and overflow our cups with your grace and your truth? In Jesus’ name, amen.
In 1970, a man named Robert Greenleaf wrote a long pamphlet called “The Servant as Leader.” The Servant as Leader, or the leader as servant, if you will. And it was hailed at the time as a “new” and “revolutionary” approach to management styles. It spawned a lot of books to come after it. And his argument, of course, was that the leader of your organization should be the chief servant. Revolutionary, not exactly new. In the entire pamphlet, he never mentions Jesus Christ. But 2000 years ago, as they’re on their way to Jerusalem, Jesus says these very things. If you want to be great, learn how to be a servant of all. And many people consider chapter 10, verse 45 the key verse of Mark. It says this:
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
To give his life to serve. That’s what we’re going to talk about. What does it mean that Jesus gave his life? What is the meaning of that? And then what is that supposed to do to us and in us? So, what does his death mean, and what should it do in our lives?
And before we can kind of talk about what his death does mean, we need to spend just a moment talking about what it doesn’t mean. It doesn’t mean, here’s another example of an ancient, barbaric God crying out for blood. The Aztec god, when they dedicated a new temple, demanded through his priests 80,000 human sacrifices, many of them children. Is that what we’re talking about? Or maybe to use a more contemporary example closer to home, are we talking about Thanos? Some of you know who that is. The arch enemy, the arch evil person of the Avengers series, who, in order to get power and to consolidate power, takes his own daughter and sacrifices her casually tossing her off a cliff so that he could get power. Is that what’s going on? He’s a good example of kind of the air that we breathe in our culture, even in church sometimes, of power over people. It’s kind of the cultural air that we breathe.
Is that what’s going on? Well, no, and I think we know that instinctively. But what’s interesting is that the disciples sort of got it. Did you notice that as we were reading the passage? Verse 32 says,
“And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.”
They knew something was happening, something big was happening, and some of them were amazed. Now, here’s what that word means. It means speechless, dumbstruck. That word amazed is what happens when you can’t wrap your head around what’s going on. And some of them were just outright afraid. Why? Well, they’re going to Jerusalem. And the number one most wanted man in the entire country is walking ahead of them, taking them into Jerusalem. And they can’t wrap their head around what’s going on, even though Jesus has told them this is going to happen. They’re finally going, “This is really happening.” This would be like a Jew in WW2 saying, “Hey, let’s go visit Berlin.” This is the most dangerous place on the planet.
But here’s the point that I want you to take, especially those of us who have been raised in church maybe, and this is a familiar passage to you. These people were deeply impacted by what was happening. Are you? Some of them couldn’t wrap their head around the fact that Jesus was going to die. Can you? Or did you just tune out when the Word was read? And to hear about this history-changing moment doesn’t even phase us. If you’re a follower of Jesus, I want to invite you right now to pray for yourself: Lord, I need to be impacted. I need to be impacted anew. The one thing that can’t happen to me today is nothing. Lord, do a work in me.
They sort of understood. So, what does it mean? Like I said, many consider this the key verse.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
He uses this word, Son of Man. The Hebrew listeners would have understood that’s the Old Testament. That’s one of the names that the Old Testament uses to talk about the Messiah. And he’s talking about himself, I’m the Messiah. And he uses some technical words, “ransom.” It’s the Greek word, “lutron.” It’s only used twice in the New Testament, but it’s used a lot outside of the New Testament. And it means this — the price that is paid to free a slave from slavery. The price that is paid to free a slave from slavery. And Jesus says, “I am the ‘lutron.’ I am the price that is paid, and it is paid for many.” That word “for” is again a technical preposition, and it always means “in the place of,” in the place of. It always has the connotation of substitution. I am the ransom in the place of you slaves so that you can be freed from your slavery. To paraphrase one commentator, we’re cosmic slaves, and we need a cosmic ransom. And that’s kind of offensive then and now, and it’s the only hope for the universe and me. And Jesus says, “This is why I came.” It’s what some theologians call the self-sacrifice of God. The self-sacrifice of God. And we see it fleshed out in verses 33 and 34. Hear these words with new ears, I invite you.
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him, and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
He does all this for cosmic slaves. The great 13th century hymn … This stuff isn’t new, by the way. The great 13th century hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” says this:
“What thou, my Lord, hast suffered [what you suffered] was all for sinners gain; Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.”
Mine was the transgression, yours was the pain. But if we stop and think about it, is this not what genuine love really looks like? I’m not talking about the stuff you hear on Spotify. I’m talking about the real genuine love. And I think maybe the closest we get is parenthood. It’s interesting that I was preparing the sermon, and I had no idea it was going to be Father’s Day when I was given this sermon. In fact, we changed the date. It seems appropriate because in parenthood, even halfway decent parents will give and give and give and give.
And think about a newborn. They don’t really give you much other than bodily fluids. And they don’t even smile at first, right? Okay, they’re sweet when they fall asleep on you and that’s the best thing in the entire universe. But other than that, they’re not giving you a whole lot. They scream, maybe they’ll stay awake for a while, they’ll eat a little bit, sleep, scream some more. You know, it’s going to repeat. And then they get a little bit older, and you have to read that book to them. You know that book. You’ve read it 486 times, and they want you to read it again. And if you’re like me, I tried to skip some pages, and my kids would call me out. “Daddy, you missed a page.” Oh yeah, I missed a page. And then as they develop, they’re telling you, “Hey, I really don’t need you anymore. Get out of my personal space.” And sometimes they’ll tell you, “I don’t want you anymore.”
Children are a terrible return on investment. And since we’ve all been children at some point, that applies to all of us, I think, right? But you know a good parent will do this because you love in a sacrificial way. And you know what, you’ve known some parents who won’t do this. They won’t give up time, they won’t sacrifice their career for their children. And you know what those children learn? All real love involves sacrifice.
And so, another popular example, the opposite of Thanos, Lily Potter. You don’t have to know a lot about Harry Potter or even like Harry Potter to know what his mom did. Before the series even began, Voldemort, who again is this incarnation of evil, comes to kill Harry, who is kind of a Messiah figure (can’t get away from those things). And he comes to kill Harry as a baby. There’s Harry in his crib, and there’s Voldemort about to kill him, and in between is Lily Potter, and she dies saving her son. Except something magical happens when she does, and he gets a type of protection so that Voldemort can’t hurt him. And Harry didn’t understand that. I’m not sure I understand it. So, he went later to Dumbledore, his mentor, and he asked him, “Why couldn’t Voldemort get to me?” Here’s what Dumbledore says.
“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign … To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever … [Voldemort] full of hatred, greed, and ambition … could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.”
Does that move you? Even if you hate Harry Potter, does that move you? And I think it does. It moves us in the same way, if you’ve ever heard a story of a genuine hero in battle who gives his life for his comrades. It moves us, because we recognize that there’s something about someone who’s self-sacrifices in the name of love that is otherworldly. You know why? Because it is. Thanos sacrifices his daughter to get what he wants, which is power. The God of the Bible gives up power to get what he wants, which is you. Which is amazing and ought to wake us up.
So, three questions before we move on. One, do you need to be loved like that? Let me answer that for you. The answer is, yes. Do you want to be loved like that? That’s a harder question. Have you been loved like that? Do you even know what that means? Or, are you like the man we studied last week who had so much wealth that he was unwilling to let go of, he was actually a slave of it, and he could not be loved by Jesus. What are you holding onto that seems comfortable, that seems familiar, that’s actually making you a slave? Do you do you want to be loved like this?
Secondly, if you are his, I want to talk to people who I know are genuine believers. You know if you’re a genuine believer. If you are his, hear this: you are marked by his unfailing love. Your nature has been changed. Your citizenship has been changed. Your identity has been changed. You are no longer a slave, even if you feel like one. Your past doesn’t have to define you, even if you feel like it does. It’s being reinterpreted. It’s being recycled. And your present, Jesus is praying for you right now. It says he ever lives to intercede for us, and your future is secure. You are engraved upon the palms of his hands. He holds you in the palms of his hands, the Father and the Son. And he says, “Nothing and no one can snatch you out of my hands.” Do you know that in your bones when hard things come? When fear shows up? When you feel guilty about that thing? Do you know that you’ve been marked in this way?
Thirdly, can you admit, can we admit, that we have a cosmic slavery problem, or is that just a little overboard? It really shouldn’t be that hard to admit that. If there’s ever been a more addicted culture than ours, I’m not sure that I can name it. Our addictions are a mile long. And many of us are enslaved to so many of our passions. Or you’re enslaved to boredom or greed or loneliness has you in a prison. Lust, lusts — because it’s not just sexual. It’s anything that we long for — fear, worry. Some of you are a slave to apathy; you don’t care about anything, and that is slavery and ultimately sin. Some of us may even be enslaved to the evil one. Today you need forgiveness, I need forgiveness, but we need freeing. What do you need freeing from? Would you ask someone to pray for you? Are you willing to do hard work? Can you admit that you have a cosmic slavery problem?
So, that’s what his death means. What should it do? What should it do in us? I remember when I was a young believer, I mean, I wasn’t a believer. And people would say, “Jesus died for sins.” And I would ask this question: “And? What does his dying have to do with me? And what does it have to do with sin?” And I hope I just explained that, substitution. And I think that the death of Christ is something that tends to bother people outside the church. They don’t understand it, it’s barbaric, it’s confusing. Maybe some of you are still confused about it. But this doesn’t bother us enough. If it bothers them too much, it doesn’t bother us enough.
And here’s what I mean by that. Like the people in this text, we kind of think we’ve got it figured out. Are you bothered by the fact that he says, “You must serve?” Does this shake us at all? See, the worst thing about preaching a sermon like this? Some of you are probably thinking, “Woodard is the last person on the planet who needs to be preaching anything about humility. He’s terrible at it.” My family is going to be here in the next service, and they know me. And they know that I’m not very good at it. And some of you have worked with me, and you’ve known me a long time, and you’re like, “That guy is not humble.” But if you were to see me ten years ago, you would believe that God is at work in my life. I really stink at this. But you know what? So do you. Can you admit it? Can we just be broken people in need of God’s grace as we talk about humility?
Personal humility, that’s the first place we need to begin to see growth in our lives.
“James and John [verse 35, the Sons of Thunder], the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’”
Have you ever started a prayer that way? Hey, Jesus, do what I say. Give me stuff. I don’t want you; I want what you can give me. They’re using him. And here’s the amazing thing: Jesus plays long. What do you want me to do for you? And then they kind of demand. Verse 37,
“And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’”
And there’s so many ironies in this passage I wish we could talk about, but at the top of the list is that they had this mistaken idea of what glory was. They say, “We can be baptized with the baptism you’re baptized with. We can drink your cup.” And he says, “Oh, yeah, you will. It’s not the cup of glory. James, you’re going to be beheaded for me. John, you’re going to spend your entire life persecuted.” You’re going to drink a cup. You’re going to be baptized with suffering and pain. And there will be someone on my right and my left: thieves, not you. Do you understand my glory is not what you think it is? They should, because this is the third time he’s explained it just in the last couple of chapters. They already argued about who was the greatest — No, I’m the greatest. I’m the greatest. He loves me more. No, he loves me more. Can you imagine what that conversation was like? Can you imagine Jesus listening to that conversation? I don’t think he did this, but I think I would’ve done this. He says to them, “You have to receive the kingdom like a little child. Many who are first will be last.”
And by the way, just no extra charge for this one. This is one of the reasons why many people find the gospel accounts very credible, very believable. Because ancient religious texts don’t shine their heroes in the worst possible light. But what we find in the Gospels is a bunch of knuckleheads who have to be told over and over and over and over, and they still don’t get it. And that should give some of us knuckleheads a lot of hope if you’re in my camp. That’s who he invites. That’s who he picks. Oh, you’re a knucklehead. Come follow me. It should give some of us great hope.
The other disciples, did you notice, they were indignant at James and John? Did you notice that when we were reading it? Have you heard that before? And I don’t know, the text doesn’t tell us, but here’s what I think was going on: why didn’t I think of that first? Why didn’t I think about asking Jesus if I could sit on his right or his left? That’s why I think they’re mad. They don’t get it. Do we? Do we? Or, are we like them; we think we get it. If you ever find yourself saying, “I think I kind of got this figured out. I got this down. And why can’t that guy get it down? I mean, what’s wrong with him?” If you talk to people outside of Christianity, one of the things they’ll say oftentimes is, “Y’all think you’ve got everything figured out, and I don’t see humility.” And you know what I would say? You’re right. Because here’s the thing. Have we really wrestled deeply, I mean deeply, with the fact that it should have been me hanging on that cross with nothing on, with all of my shame for the entire world to see? But God took that place for me. If that’s at the heart of your religion, if that’s at the core of your religion, how dare you look down on anyone. How dare I look down on anyone. And I have. God forgive me. Who are we to look down on anyone?
See, to be a follower of Jesus, if you don’t know what that means, you have to admit that you don’t get it. The only people who get in, the only people who get in, are people who say, “I don’t deserve to be in.” Oh, okay, come on in. People who come and say, “Hey, you know, I’m a pretty good guy,” he’d say, I’ve got nothing for you. I’m a Savior. I’m not a helper, I’m a Savior. Oh, you need saving? Come on in. You don’t have it together? Come on in. You’re a mess? Come on in. If you can admit that, and you can continue to admit that, then you begin to grow in personal humility, which we need.
And we need to grow public humility. Look at verses 42 and 43 (if I can find it).
“And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them … but it shall not be so among you.”
Remember power over people? Have you ever worked for a boss who treats his employees or her employees like they’re slaves or pawns in a chess game, the absolute opposite of what we’re talking about? See, what Jesus is talking about is incredibly revolutionary and radical, and he did it himself.
Now pause and think for a second. The night he was betrayed, John tells us that he took a basin of water, and he stripped down, and he took the place of the lowest slave, the job that nobody would take except the lowest slave, and he washed his disciples’ feet — even Judas, even Peter, even James and John. And it was symbolic. But it was much more than symbolic, because if you lived in that culture, you needed your feet washed. And so, can you imagine Jesus as he’s going along getting crusted toe jam out from between the toes of his disciples? And then he finishes, and he says to them, “You do likewise.”
North Hills, this is what we should be presenting to the world. But if you’re like me, you’ve been embarrassed to associate with the name of Christ the last couple of years. I’ve heard Christians or people in the name of Christ (I don’t know if they’re genuine believers or not), and it doesn’t matter whether they identify with the left or the right or somewhere in the middle. I have watched over and over and over and over and over again. I saw one this morning of a post on Facebook that was intentionally meant to provoke. That is not washing feet. And when we get on social media, and we scream at each other, no wonder nobody wants to be like us. We need to repent deeply of our self-righteousness. How dare we not wash the feet of the Judases in our life. This is a hard teaching.
Contrast that with … Ten years ago I was in rehab, and I’m a proud graduate of the Overcomers Center. That’s when my family started coming here. And I have a rehab buddy. Everybody should have a rehab buddy. And we have stayed in touch over the years. The last time he was with us, he shared with me something that made a deep impact on his life. He worked in the kitchen over at the Overcomers Center, and there was a volunteer who would show up every week. And I’ll be honest with you, sometimes, not always, and not even often, sometimes volunteers show up for themselves to make themselves feel better. Not always. But, you know this guy didn’t do that because he’d been coming for years, and he took the dirtiest job in the kitchen. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, and you know about kitchen work, the grease traps, right? Nobody wants that job. We’re just going to pretend they’re not there. Maybe somebody else will get roped into that, the newest employee. And year after year after year, this guy has been showing up and cleaning the grease traps at the Overcomers Center, and the impact that made on my friend nine years later. Do we have public humility, or do we need to grow?
Do we have relational humility? Look at verse 43.
“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Here’s how our world works, okay? I was thinking this week, because I have I have children who are wrestling with school dynamics and drama. And I was thinking this week about a particular girl in my elementary school. Yes, we had elementary schools back then. And she ruled the elementary school like “Mean Jean,” if you ever read that book. She ruled. And I thought, how does a third grader end up ruling the elementary school? And she was mean! She’d say, “Oh, you’re my friend. No, you’re not. Yes, you are. No, you’re not.” It’s like how some of you think God loves. It’s not how he loves, but this is the way our world works. Like middle school, you’re getting power, you’re grabbing to be popular. And I hate to tell you middle schoolers, it doesn’t get any better. The real world is like that. Watch politics on TV for more than 24 seconds, and you’ll see it. And jobs and even in the home. Husbands will say, “Submit.” No understanding of what that actually means. This is the way our world does it. And Jesus says, “You must not do it this way. You must not. You have to learn how to be a servant.”
Now, what does that not mean? It’s not codependency. Psychology will talk about codependency, and some of you are familiar with it. Here’s what codependency is: I need you to need me. I serve you to get a need met because I feel empty inside, and I need your approval. And if I don’t get your approval, I might resent you a little bit more. And I’m afraid of what people think about me. That’s codependency. And that is not what’s being talked about here. If you wrestle with that, and you need freedom from it, we can talk. This is talking about getting underneath people and picking them up, pushing them up under your shoulders.
Three quick takeaways and then I’ll sit down. One, if you are a follower of Jesus, this is not optional. It’s not good advice. It’s not a friendly suggestion. Jesus says, this is why he came, and this is what it means to follow him. And he said that in chapter 8.
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake in the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’”
So, in the mind of Jesus, servant leadership isn’t just one management style among many. It is the lifestyle of a Christian. Anyone who’s in any position that even sounds like or feels like or smells like leadership. In my life, if it’s not marked by growing in this, then I have some soul searching to do. By the way, as I’ve been meditating on this sermon for about the last 4-6 weeks, I have been a really good husband. I mean, my wife wants me to keep meditating on this because I’m asking a different question. I’m not asking, “Hey, how can she fulfill me today?” That’s her job, right? That’s why I married her, so she can fulfill me. Some of us did. That’s why your marriage is miserable, by the way. What if, “How can I fulfill her today? How can I get underneath her and lift her up?”
And what’s interesting is he draws the disciples — not his women followers — he draws his disciples to himself. “You guys are going to be leaders. You can’t lead like everybody else does, by squashing everyone under you.” He’s talking to men and he’s saying, “Listen, if you’ve worked a 10-hour day, and all you want to do is sit and rest, then you need to go throw the ball with your boy, even though that’s the last thing you want to do.” And sometimes parents, sometimes dads (not me, but other dads I’ve heard of), have said to their kids, “Hey, will you get me a glass of water while I sit here on the couch?” I’ve heard that some dads do that. Parents have kids just so they can have servants. No. What if Dad, Toby, you got up and asked them if they wanted some water? Wow, wouldn’t that be amazing? Right?
Mom, you’ve put in a 16-hour day, and she wants to play that game you hate. She wants you to get down on the floor and play that little game that you hate. Will you do that? Will you wash the dishes when it’s the last thing you want to do? Will you clean the sink? Will you take a teenager to a concert that they want to go to that you could care less about? Can you serve those around you?
Bosses, owners, how would you lift up those under your care? It would transform your business, by the way. And one last little application. If you’re a teenager, and you name the name of Christ, it doesn’t have an asterisk out beside it and say, “You’re off the hook if you’re an adolescent. You don’t have to serve your brother and sister. Go ahead and just tear them down like everybody else in our culture.” This is not optional, folks. We don’t get a flier on this. To quote John Piper, he says,
“He demands your life. All of it. He demands that you take on a life-style that sacrifices everything for the sake of serving others.”
It’s not optional. But here’s the cool thing. He never calls us to something he hasn’t already done. He never calls us to something he hasn’t already done. You know one of the things that makes Christianity unique among all the world’s religions? Most religious leaders say, “Hey, here’s some teaching. Ya’ll go do it.” And here’s what Jesus did. I’m going to be the first sufferer. I’m going to be the first servant. We lose the impact of the fact that God voluntarily became a homeless man with no money and is arguably the most important person, even in secular history, who has ever lived. You do that math. How did that happen? By getting power and squashing those beneath him or by washing feet? And so, he has suffered first. And that is a great comfort to me, because this week I had an injustice done to me. A bona fide, objective injustice, and it’s a pretty big one in my life. Jesus knows what that feels like. The greatest injustice in history he endured to bring justice. He knows what it’s like to suffer. He is the first sufferer.
Have you lost your reputation? Check. Have you lost your position? Oh, he set it all aside. Have you lost power? Check, check, check. How about this. Have you ever been mocked for being a Christian? Spit upon? Flogged? Murdered? Physical suffering? You lost a parent? He lost two. You have siblings who think you’re crazy? So did he. Nobody listens to what you said? He couldn’t even go to his hometown.
And let’s talk about spiritual suffering for just a second. His Abba, his Father, when he cried out to him, “Why have you forsaken me?” The answer comes in silence. The answer is, “So that I wouldn’t forsake all of those people sitting at North Hills today.” He knows suffering. He knows a cross. He has carried one, and he calls you to carry one as well. But he won’t call you anywhere he hasn’t gone first, and that’s good news.
So, Jesus’ approach, instead of power over people, people over power. And that’s what we need to look like.
Finally, will you allow him to wash you, to serve you? Did any of you feel kind of a weight when Bryan was talking about forgiveness? I did. I’ve got some people I don’t really want to forgive. I kind of like being unforgiving towards them. And to give that up? Some of you know what I’m talking about. Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels that way. Them? You want me to forgive them? It feels hard. It feels impossible. I’m not even sure I really want to do it. And all these things that we’re enslaved to. What about that? Do we need to just get our act together? Well, why did the Son of Man come, what did it say? You answer. Why did the Son of Man come? To serve you and me, the sinners. Here’s what John Piper says about it.
“This is hard [this serving people]. In fact, it is impossible. That’s what Jesus said to the disciples when they said, ‘Who then can be saved?’ He said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.’ It is impossible to drink the cup of suffering. It is impossible to become everybody’s servant. UNLESS … The great UNLESS … Unless the Son of Man is serving you day and night. Mark 10:45 is what turns Christianity into gospel. If Christianity were only a great and radical teacher calling for the sacrificial obedience of radical disciples, it would not be good news. It would be just another ideology. Another philosophy. Another moral improvement program… This is the only way we can be saved from our sins, is if Jesus serves us [if he washes us]. We can’t be saved by serving Him. We need Him to do the saving work in our hearts. It’s not just to the point of our salvation. It is every single day in our salvation. I think about waking up this morning. I’ve got so many needs in my life. I need wisdom in this or that area. I feel weak in this or that way. I am tempted in this or that way. I need help, and the whole point of what Jesus came is to say, ‘I’ve come to help you.’ I’m here in this world this morning as I’m thinking about all the needs in my life, and Jesus is saying, ‘I’m gonna wait on you. I’m gonna serve you. I’m gonna provide you with the wisdom you need. I’m gonna provide you with the strength you’re gonna need in your weakness. I’m gonna enable you to resist temptation in this way or that.’”
And he’ll watch us when we don’t. So, can we say with Peter then, “Lord, not my feet, but also my hands and my head” as well, all of me?
Let’s pray. Father, we admit publicly that we are not very good at this. We admit to the world we are not very good at this. We have no defense but Jesus Christ. We have no boast but Jesus Christ and him crucified for sinners. But, Lord, we do plead with you that we would look and smell and sound and taste a little bit more like Jesus. That you would do that deep work in us as individuals, as fathers. Some of whom, Lord, are like me and didn’t have a father, and we’re doing the best we can, and sometimes it’s not great. But would we look more like you today? Would you do a deep work in mothers and bosses, and middle schoolers, and middle school teachers, and citizens, and leaders? Would you do a work in all of those categories in this congregation, Lord, that we might be more like Christ? And I thank you, Jesus, that you are not ashamed of us, though we are sometimes ashamed of you. You are not ashamed of us. You call us friends and that is what we are. Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends. Thank you, Jesus, for doing that. Amen.