Jesus Came to Serve

Original Date: 
Sunday, February 12, 2012

Today we start the season of the church year known as advent, which celebrates and prepares us for the coming of Jesus into the world.

Advent means the arrival of something important or awaited, a coming into place, view, or being;

Advent the anticipation of the “coming.” Of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ coming, of course, is the most significant event in the history of the world. We believe that when Jesus was born to a young girl in a stable in Bethlehem, it wasn’t just an unusual way and place to have a baby, it was the entrance of God into the affairs of humanity.

As we have been learning about the Trinity in the past 3 weeks. —the eternal, self-sufficient, omnipotent Godhead—set aside His divinity to take on flesh and blood and live among us as Jesus.

But the question I have for us to think about this morning is : Why did He come? Why did the Son of God leave His throne in heaven to come down to earth in a smelly, dirty, stable and live among sinful people here on earth? Why did He do it?

I want us to turn to our neighbor and give your answer to “Why did He Come?”

I’m guessing most of us could give a pretty good answer to that question.

He came to___________

I hope you would for sure say, if I gave you time to discuss it this morning. He came to be our Savior. Jesus substituted Himself for us to pay the penalty of our sins. Maybe a lot of you, if asked why Jesus came, would answer with the well know passage John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

And there is no better answer. You really cannot think about the stable without thinking about the cross. Jesus’ mission in coming to earth was a mission of salvation.

But did you know that throughout His ministry Jesus talks repeatedly about why He came? And did you know that He gives a number of different—though related—answers? Here are just a 10.
1. To reveal the Father (Matt. 11:27)
2. To serve (Matt. 20:28)
3. To save the world (John 3:17; Luke 19:10)
4. To preach the good news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4:43)
5. To bring division (Luke 12:51)
6. To do the will of the Father (John 6:38)
7. To testify to the truth (John 18:37)
8. To destroy the devil's works (1 John 3:8)
9. To fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt. 5:17)
10. To give life (John 10:10,28)

In fact John Piper in 2006 wrote the book, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came To Die.

So in our Series “A Stable Influence as we celebrate Advent and prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ we will look at these 4 following passages and statements Jesus made leading up to Christmas.

In Matt. 10:34 Jesus came to disrupt. He says: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

In John 12:46 Jesus came to bring light He says: “I have come into this world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

In John 18:37 Jesus came to bring truth. He tells Pilate: “For this reason I was born, and for this I come into the world, to testify to the truth.”

And in John 10:10 Jesus came to give us life. He says: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Each of these statements, I believe, relates to Jesus’ overall mission of salvation for the world, and yet each statement gives a slightly different angle and insight in why He came.

I’d like us to begin this week by turning to Mark 10, where Jesus tells us that He came to serve. Mark 10:35-45:

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask."
36"What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.
37 They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
38"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"
39"We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 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."
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The key verse here is verse 45. Where it says the “Son of Man”—which is Jesus way of referring to Himself in the Book of Mark—“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve; and give His life as a ransom for many. Jesus says, in essence, “I came to serve.”

So the first thing we must know about Jesus is His mission here on earth is that He came to be a servant.

For us to understand this important verse, let’s back up and look at the whole story in which it appears. We’ll go through the passage in three sections this morning,

First, Jesus takes A Different Path to Glory

James and John—a pair of brothers who were among the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples who had a reputation for being rather aggressive (In fact their nickname is “sons of thunder”). These guys where rather ambitious—They come to Jesus with a request: “we want you to do for us whatever we ask?” So here is our question “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

James and John don’t have the greatest social tactics. If fact this story goes even deeper in the plot of this question in Matt. 20 where James and Johns mother Salome gets involved, who was probably a sister to Mary the mother of Jesus. Which would be Jesus Aunt. They were all hoping maybe blood relations can give them a help for the inside track.

Either way the question is just boldly ask of Jesus, like they deserve something or it should be expected. In hoping to get an answer of “What is in it for me? What can I get out of this? How will this benefit me?” Because they believe that Jesus is destined for great things and they want to be a part of it.. And while they are correct in believing that Jesus will enter into glory, their understanding of what that means is all wrong.

The story that comes before this in Mark is where Jesus tells of His Death for the Third time. How many times must I tell them? Jesus must have been thinking. But they continued to miss the story that Jesus had told them for the third time.

They figure that Jesus is going to gain an earthly throne. That He is going to become King of Israel and drive the Romans out. And They are asking the question in belief that their lives here on earth will be different when Jesus takes charge. When the great and glorious day of Jesus’ victory comes, they want an inside track into being His top guys.

James and John remind me of the people today who want to be friends with people in high places so they can receive the benefits to cash in. In fact I saw this happen just this week on Facebook about the Powerball. Holly who was in my youth group lives in Arizona posted on her Facebook. Apparently someone from AZ won the powerball to split with another winner in Missouri... If it’s any of you people(All my Facebook Friends), just remember how much you love me

In our 21st-century American culture, we strive to make it to the top and to cross the finish line first. In today’s economy, we are prepared to push and shove to be the front-runner for the new job. We will do whatever it takes to land that position or win the prize. We want to be noticed, recognized, and rewarded for our efforts. Let’s face it. We want to be served; and besides, we think we deserve it.
And that’s what James and John are hoping for here. They believe Jesus is destined for great things and they’re hoping He’ll take them along for the ride.

But Jesus tells them that He is traveling a different path to glory than the one they think. He says, in verse 38, “"You don't know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?"

Both the cup and baptism are images that are often used in the Old Testament as symbols of divine judgment. Isaiah talks about the “cup of God’s wrath” and the flood of Noah was like a baptism in judgment. Later, when Jesus is praying in the garden for “’this cup” to be taken from me”; He’s talking about the trial and suffering He knows He is about to endure on the way to the cross.

So when Jesus brings this up about the cup and baptism with James and John, He is saying that His path to glory is through suffering. He is trying to explain to them that there will be no crown without a cross.

Jesus has taken their desire for glory and shown them that the path to glory is a pathway through suffering and death.

As we look at the Stable this morning, Jesus is also saying we also need to see the cross.

Jesus journey goes from glory in Heaven, to bearing the cross on earth, to glory in Heaven. He came here, to earth, to pass through suffering and death. And He says to His followers: “If you want to share my glory with me, you will have to walk the same path of suffering.”

James and John are full of confidence and answer in verse 39"We can," They believe they can follow Jesus, though it is clear they still do not yet understand.

Jesus Different Idea of Power

This leads to the second section of the story, “Jesus Different Idea of Power.”

When the other 10 disciples hear of what James and John have asked, they get all bet out of shape. You get the feeling part of what upset them the most is that they didn’t think of it first. They had been hoping for those seats themselves
So now the disciples are all complaining and talking behind each other’s backs.”Can you believe that James and John, the nerve they had to ask Jesus this question. So you can just see Jesus alright then.

Come here and sit down and uses the occasion for His greatest and most powerful lesson on being a servant, on being great in God’s Kingdom. It is a hard lesson to learn. It just doesn’t seem to make sense by earthly standards

In verses 42-44:

"You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all

You can just see the disciple’s reaction. What, ah, that does not sound right.

The disciples’ problem is that they have the wrong idea of what it means to have power. The examples they have—the “rulers of the gentiles” and the “high officials”—are bad examples. These are people who see their authority as an excuse to get their own way. These are people who wear their power as a badge of privilege.

The disciples are thinking: “If I could be at the top with Jesus, then I’ll be able to tell people what to do. Nobody will be able to question me. I’ll always get my way.”

Really, this is the world’s idea of power. It’s as old as history, and ingrained—I believe—in us from birth. The highest position, the oldest person, the biggest kid is in charge.

For example, I found a poem on the internet by children’s author Judith Viorst which puts into words what every 8 year-old boy probably feels. It’s called: If I Were in Charge of the World.

If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel oatmeal
Monday mornings
Allergy shots, and also,
Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There’d be brighter night lights
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty-eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn’t have lonely,
You wouldn’t have clean,
You wouldn’t have bedtimes,
Or “Don’t punch your sister.”
You wouldn’t even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts
Would be a vegetable.
All 007 movies would be G

And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.

That’s our idea of power. To be in charge of the world. To have things go your way. Calling the shots.

But Jesus says to His followers: “Not so with you.” Jesus says things will be different among His followers. Jesus says power will be used in a different way. We won’t be like the rest of the world.

Making essentially the same point He made with James and John, He says that if His followers want to be great, they must be prepared to suffer. Becoming great means becoming a servant. Being first means being a slave.

Jesus’ idea of power is not like the rest of the world. It doesn’t mean using your position and your influence to get yourself ahead; it means using those things to serve others.

Jesus A Different Kind of God

This is the final section of the story, and I call it “Jesus A Different Kind of God

To illustrate His point, Jesus uses Himself as an example. Verse 45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Jesus is God in human flesh. Last few weeks we have been talking about the Trinity. Jesus part of the Godhead who came down to earth to ACCOMPLISH.

The book of Revelation gives us an idea of the splendor and the worship that he deserves. Even the title he uses for Himself, “Son of Man”, is a reference to the book of Daniel where “one like the son of man” comes “with the clouds of heaven” and is “given authority, glory and sovereign power” and receives worship from all nations and has a kingdom “that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

If anyone has the credentials to rule in heaven and make the rules and be in charge of the world, And be served, by all, it is Jesus. And yet, Jesus says here: “I did not come to be served, but to serve.”

Jesus took a different path to glory. By Suffering. Carrying His Cross

Jesus has A different idea of power. Not for myself, but for others.

Jesus A different kind of God. Fully God, and Fully Human
This is what makes Christianity different from all other religions. We have a God who came to serve.

All other religions the followers serve the “god”.

Not with Jesus. He came in a dirty stable not in an inn, rode on a donkey not on a white horse, and carried a cross, not a gold crown.

And this, is why Jesus came. To serve us

An Example To Follow
Now, there are two points of application.

First, we must follow Jesus’ example by serving others.

The whole context for this statement by Jesus is in regards to how His followers should conduct themselves when it comes to positions of leadership.

“Not so with you.” Jesus says. Leadership—positions of power and authority for Christians—does not look the same inside the church as it does outside of it.

No self-serving leadership for the Christian.

A Christian must lead by serving. A Christian leader considers himself a slave to those he leads.

We need to change our idea of what it means to be a leader. It’s not about glory. Jesus says it means a readiness to suffer. It’s not about power. Jesus says it means using your power to benefit others.

So think about those areas where you have authority, and the implications this has for you.

Husbands, this is how we are to lead in our homes. Not as “king of the castle” expecting to have everyone in the house be a servant to us, or be the answer to every whim we might have; but loving our wives as Christ love the church, humbling ourselves and serving them.

Parents, this is how we are to raise our children. Not, “because I told you so”, but because I love you and am called to raise you in the fear of the Lord, I will tie your shoes, and I will discipline you even if it hurts me, and I will suffer with and for you.

Church leaders, this is how we are to lead the church. Not, “I should get my way because I've been a part of this church for so long”, or “because I'm an Elder”; Or because I give financially, but instead, I will put the best interests of the church and Jesus Christ ahead of my own interests

Young people, some of you have a great deal of influence at school or with your friends, and you should use that influence not to build yourself up or try to be popular and make yourself look great; but to serve your friends and help them, stand up for them when no one else is or will, to recognize them for their gifts and talents that they have and who Jesus created them to be..

Jesus, who had all the power and authority in the world, set it aside to be a servant. And we should follow His example.

Let Christ Serve You
Then, the second application—and I think is probably the more profound one—and possibly harder to understand, we must allow Christ to serve us.

Think about this—let it sink in for a little bit—Jesus says that He came not to be served by us, but to serve us.

Matt Mitchell writes this:

You cannot be saved and a have a part of Jesus for eternity, unless…you allow him to serve you. You cannot serve yourself and be saved. You can't even serve God to be saved. The Gospel is not a "help wanted sign." God is not looking for servants. Shockingly, God is looking to serve us. The Gospel is a "help available sign." (Matt Mitchell, “The Sovereign Servant and the Blessed Imitators”,11/7/99)

So often we begin to think that God needs us. That God needs us to serve in church, or He needs us to give our money to certain charity, or He needs us to tell others about Him. And we begin to think that we are pretty important in the whole scheme of things in the Kingdom of God and it’s a lucky thing God has us.

But that’s not what Jesus is saying. He didn’t come to be served by us, but to serve us. He didn’t come to receive our help, but to give us His help!

So sure, He wants us to do those things. He invites us to join Him in the work of the kingdom. But it only really works as we allow Him to serve through us. We are only going to be able to serve others when we first allow Him to serve us.

Remember when Peter encountered this concept when Jesus wanted to wash His Feet. Peter said “No,’you shall never wash my feet.”Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
This is so radical! This is so wild! No respected religious leader ever spoke this way. No great worldly leaders think like this. We must swallow our pride and allow Jesus to serve us.
Why He Came
As we look at the Stable we are reminded that God has come into the world. And when He comes He demands something and he promises something. He demands your life. All of it. He demands that you look and act differently than the rest of the world. That you take on a self-sacrificing lifestyle that serves others. That you make yourself the slave of all.

And this is hard. In fact, it is impossible. It is impossible to drink the cup of suffering. It is impossible to become everybody’s servant. UNLESS… That’s what verse 45 is all about, it’s the great UNLESS. It is impossible unless the Son of Man is serving you day and night.

John Piper writes:

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. If Christmas only meant that a man appeared on the scene of history to call others to be servants, it would not be good news…. We don’t need any more New Age mysticisms or psychological self-help strategies. What we need is Someone who can forgive our sins and ransom us from guilt and death and the wrath of God, and who can give us a new life with the power to die for each other in the service of love.

That is what the Stable Influence is all about. That is what Mark 10:45 is all about. This is why Jesus came. He came to serve.

As a Church Staff we are reading the book “Creature of the Word” by Matt Chandler and in the Book is this story that really illustrates this concept of service.

When the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground on that dreadful day of September 11, 2001, more than three thousand people died. But a few of those who were buried beneath the rubble miraculously survived the toppling of the towers. Two of these individuals were Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin, a pair of Port Authority employees who responded to the attacks and were on the bottom floor when the south tower began to fall. They raced to an elevator shaft but were buried dozens of feet down in the midst of an array of rubble. Trapped without water, breathing smoke-filled air, both Will and John had little hope of survival.

Yet as they lay there, pinned under a mountain of debris, something was stirring inside an accountant in Connecticut they had never met. Dave Karnes, who had spent twenty-three years active duty in the Marine Corps, was watching the scene play out on television just like the rest of us. But more than allowing it merely to trouble him, he decided to do something about it. He went to this boss and told him he wouldn’t be back for a while.

Dave went to a barber shop, asked for a high-and-tight haircut, then stopped by his home to put on his military fatigues, hoping the uniform would allow him access into the blocked-off area surrounding Ground Zero. He drove to Manhattan at speeds of 120 miles an hour and arrived by late afternoon. While rescue workers were being called off the wreckage pile because of danger, Dave was able to stay because of the clout and credential that came with his military uniform. Finding another Marine nearby, the two men walked the pile together, seeking to save the lost.

After an hour of searching, they heard the faint sound of tapping pipes and yelling. Will and John had been trapped for nine hours by that time, completely incapable of working themselves free. Yet in the midst of all the rubble, a Marine who earlier in the morning had been working a spreadsheet in Connecticut found them. Of the twenty people pulled from the heaped-up remains of the World Trade Center, Will Jimeno and John McLoughlin were numbers eighteen and nineteen. And all because Dave Karnes took off his suit, put on rescue fatigues, and stepped into the despair and darkness of Ground Zero.

In the same way (but to an infinitely greater degree), God took off His royal robes, stepped into our dark and depraved culture, and served us. We were buried in the depths and rubble of our own foolishness with zero chance of pulling ourselves out of our own sin. We were without hope until the Holy One clothed Himself in humanity to rescue us, to become sin for us on the cross.

Not to be served by us, not to call us to some radical moral commitment we could never hope to achieve on our own, not to be in charge of the world so we would all do exactly what he says—but to serve us. To give His life and free us from the burden of our sins and empower us to live love-saturated, joy-filled lives of service.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

That is Why Jesus Came..