The Jesus Way
A few weeks ago, in our series on Amos, we tried to get honest.
We wondered together about what stops us from being people who pursue justice.
If, as Tim Keller writes, that pursuing justice means being prepared to have our lives woven into the lives of others…living in a way that is costly…sacrificial…but life-bringing….then what stops us from living that way?
It’s our sin. Our selfishness. Our greed. Our love of self.
It’s the insidious way that sin creeps, and stalks, and entangles us. It’s the way we so easily, willingly, give in, concede and surrender.
But I take heart that this isn’t unique to me…to us.
The disciples had been arguing.
About who was the greatest.
And Jesus knew it. He knew they had been arguing. He knew the subject of the debate.
So he asks them in order to draw it out of them.
To extract and reveal their inner ugliness.
Imagine their reticence.
I mean, look back a few verses and you’ll see that immediately prior to the disciples’ arguing, Jesus had been teaching them that he must suffer and die. That he’s going to lay down his life.
In v32 Mark tells us they didn’t understand what Jesus meant.
And then they launch into this debate as to who’s the greatest.
Just stop and imagine that scene.
The contrast is incredible. One minute Jesus is talking about laying down his life. The next….his closest friends are engaging in a debate as to who is the greatest.
How does Jesus respond?
By giving them a little visual illustration.
He takes a young child. A child who had nothing to give in return. A child who had no stature in society, no standing…
How you welcome this child….how you love someone who has nothing to give in return…nothing to give that will help you in your social standing…..how you do that will expose your love for God.
Or, in short…
Loving the lowly expresses your love for God.
I find this quite staggering.
We live in a culture, I think, that measures us in terms of performance. We like to feel we have achieved…or earned something. And this is true for church culture too.
How are you doing reading the bible?
How’s your prayer life?
Have you skipped church this month?
Have you tithed?
Have you been to small group?
Now, don’t mis-hear me…each of those things is good and has its place…but I can’t think of one place where Jesus uses those things as measuring sticks of faith.
But instead Jesus says the thing that counts most is how we treat others. Particularly the poor, the lowly, the vulnerable.
Think of Matthew 25 and the sheep and the goats.
Or Matthew 22 and the Greatest Commandment.
Or Luke 10 and the Good Samaritan.
Think about James (the brother of Jesus) and what he says in James 1:27.
Or what John (one of inner circles of disciples) writes throughout his first letter.
The way of Jesus is the way of love.
The way of Jesus is the way of laying down your life.
The way of Jesus is washing feet.
The way of Jesus is caring for the ‘least of these’.
The way of Jesus is to ‘love your neighbour’.
Let’s walk the way of Jesus together.