Tuesday, September 30, 2014
September 30 – A claim we can’t ignore
I did not come to be served but to serve and give my life as a ransom in place of the many. (Mark 10:45 NET)
There are those who claim that Christianity was an invention of a group of fanatical followers that decided to call their dead charismatic rabbi the Messiah so they could create a new religion for the sake of their own fame. But Jesus’ own words don’t leave any doubt about who He claimed to be. In passage after passage, Jesus makes it clear that He is the Messiah, He is the one to die for us and be a ransom for our lost and sinful lives. A simple religious teacher would never make such a daring statement in that day and age when just pronouncing the name of God was considered disrespectful, and claiming to be the Savior of the world was a blasphemy deserving of a stoning.
The centuries-old laws and rituals of blood sacrifice in the Temple were everything to the Jews, because God had commanded it from the time of Moses. And now Jesus is standing in the dusty streets of Judea, talking to a bunch of simple folks in a tiny country under the control of the Roman Empire, and telling them that He is the one who will die for the sins of the entire world. Who was this man to say that His life would replace the sacrifice of the Temple? What upstart would lead a movement by announcing that He was going to serve? Who in their right mind would want to die? And who was crazy enough to think their life alone was powerful enough to save all mankind? If Jesus were just a rabble-rouser with delusions of grandeur, He would have been laughed out of town, stoned and forgotten, and probably never even mentioned in any history book.
But no one laughed at Jesus. He was either hated intensely by the religious leaders, or loved intensely by those who had ears to hear the truth. He was feared, and He was taken dead seriously to the point that His enemies killed Him. His crime: claiming that He was God.
After 2000 years, we as Christians have lost that awe and amazement of this promise of Jesus. We relegate this verse to something nice that our kids bring home from Sunday-school on bookmarkers. But Jesus’ words here shook the foundations of hell. Because He took our punishment on the cross and faced death for us, we can have access to heaven, and to all authority over evil while we live on this earth. This ransom that He paid was so powerful that we who serve Him, are lifted up to such a high position of honor, a position that we will never be able to deserve on our own merit. The best we can do is to surrender our lives to Him in gratitude and to take on His nature for ourselves. And if Jesus didn’t come to be served but to serve, who are we to do any less but to serve each other?