It might seem inviting to become a child again and to lead more carefree lives, but
would we want to become a child again with the loss of freedom and privileges of adulthood? I do not think I would want to give up the freedoms that I have as an adult (for example, the ability to obtain a driver’s license).
Becoming Like a Child
The following accounts relate to the same event from the life of Jesus, but they each have different points of emphasis:
Matthew 18:1-5: Here it appears the disciples initiate the discussion. They questioned who was greatest in the kingdom, and when Jesus said a child is the greatest, it must have surprised them.
Mark 9:33-37: Jesus asks the question in this account. It was because they were discussing who was the most important that Jesus seeks to teach them that God’s kingdom is very different from the kingdoms of the world.
Luke 9:46-48: In this account the disciples are arguing among themselves as to who is most important in God’s eyes. To focus on the differences in these accounts would be to “major in the minors.” (To some extent apparently all these things happened that day.) All of these references are strongly emphasizing the importance of humility in serving God. A child would almost be considered a “non-person” in the culture of Jesus’ day.
Jesus Came to Serve
Matthew 20:20-28 (Mark 10:35-45): These passages both describe an incident in which the mother of James and John asks that her sons be given important positions in the kingdom. (She understood the importance of timing and seemed to hope to move her “boys” ahead of the other disciples.) In the kingdoms of the world the highest positions have the most power and therefore the most perks. But this is not the way God’s kingdom works. Even though we may think that we have heard this message all of our lives, we cannot hear it too much because the world is constantly feeding us its false message. Will we choose to serve and to see others as more important?
What is more important, our service to Christ or his service to us? Doesn’t verse 28 indicate that what Jesus does for us is most important?
Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
John 13:1-20 (Luke 22:24-27): It must have been amazing to have been in the upper room that day and to have Jesus wash one’s feet! Verse one indicates that love was what motivated Jesus. The one who loves the most has the least power. Love makes you vulnerable, it makes the other person more important, and it makes us deny ourselves. We do not like to humble ourselves because that might make us question our value, and we hate to be looked down on. (I heard of one case where a young man murdered a total stranger because he believed that the man had looked at him disrespectfully.) The passage in Luke indicates that the argument was still going on as to who was the most important! Jesus’ actions did not diminish him, because he knew who he was. He even put aside his outer cloak and “went casual” in front of his followers.
Jesus Left Heaven to Serve
Philippians 2:3-11: From the animal trough to the cross, Jesus served (not just in the washing of their feet). We cannot serve as we should until we receive the “service” of Jesus Christ. We learn to be servants by allowing Jesus to serve us. John 13:10 says that he is our Savior; our relationship with Jesus makes our relationship with God right.
We learn to be servants by allowing Jesus to:
Cleanse us from sin (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Give us new life (Ephesians 2:5). We cannot earn it.
Teach us God’s truth (Matthew 11:29). (“Learn from Me.”)
Strengthen us (1 Timothy 1:12). We do not just receive commands from Jesus, but strength to obey.
Reconcile us to God (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Jesus is the only way to be in relationship with God.
Let us allow Jesus to serve us every day so that we are able to serve others. If we live every day acknowledging / embracing what Jesus is doing daily for us, then we can daily humble ourselves to serve and it is not humiliating.
—Robert Lee, 6-4-06 a.m.