Midweek Advent Series – “Christ – Servant, Substitute, Savior”
Part I: Christ – Our Servant
December 6, 2017
Peace be unto you this blessed evening from our Advent King, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is certainly heartwarming… wonderful and touching… to see a person of notoriety… of power and prestige… of high rank and authority… serving those of lower and sometimes the lowest of rank… serving those with no power… with little or no prestige. The extraordinary helping the ordinary in a gracious way.
The President of the United States making a surprise visit to our troops in Afghanistan and serving them breakfast.
A movie star without glitz and glamour, dressed in ordinary clothes, helping out at a Habitat for Humanity project.
But then, too, we think to ourselves, “these individuals are really no different than us and certainly no better than us.” That is true. We are the same. We are all part of what is known as “mankind” … whether prince or pauper.
That, however, is not what we are talking about this evening. It is not what we have the joy, the distinct privilege and honor of considering for a few precious moments by candlelight tonight.
We are not simply talking about the extraordinary coming to the ordinary. It is not even about God coming to man, which, in itself, is wonderful and marvelous. Rather it is the King of this universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things… the Alpha and Omega… the Omnipotent One… the Omniscient One… the Holy One… “rending the heavens” as we discussed in Bible class this past Sunday (Isaiah 64:1) and coming… BECOMING… one of us. God taking on the human flesh, becoming flesh… “the Word made flesh” and dwelling among us.
What we are talking about, considering this evening, is Jesus Christ… the very Son of God… in His state of humiliation… and His willingness to come in the humblest and lowliest of estates. His willingness and desire, out of divine love and compassion, to align Himself with you, me and all of sinful mankind… so that sin, ours and everyone’s, may be paid for, removed… blotted out by means of His flesh… with His holy and precious Body and Blood.
Behold Christ Jesus – the epitome of servanthood… that which we see… have the joy of seeing… and this, from the moment of His incarnation on.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, as never before, may we understand my friends… may we have the right mind… the same mind…and truly grasp the scope and nature of Christ’s servanthood and subsequently, ours… all who follow Him… all who serve Him… all who serve their fellow man regardless of who they are… or are not… regardless of what they have… or have not.
The Word of God encourages us, saying, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Have this mind… the “mind of servanthood” as seen in no greater way than in Jesus Christ. God serving mankind. God serving you… and me. God rending the heavens, leaving all that is holy, pure, grand and glorious in the highest of heaven… to come down to the lowest of earth… to come down into the stench… into a world and among all its inhabitants who reek of sin and smell of death.
God who came down from heaven, was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. God who was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Our dear Lord said it Himself, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
How selfish and self-centered we can often be… we who can so easily turn our noses up at the prospect of serving others, especially those who we feel do not deserve it… that such service is beneath us… saying this, thinking this while all of the time ourselves blessedly being underneath, resting beneath the cross where Christ served us in the greatest of ways… we, who are truly the undeserving, but nevertheless the one’s receiving… fully receiving God’s service and all the benefits of His servanthood… Christ’s servanthood… namely our salvation… the canceling out of all our sins, the unlocking of the chains of death and the devil once… for all.
Behold, my friends, the One who came to serve… the One who did serve and still serves us, seeing to all of our needs. Behold, your Savior, Jesus. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“Christ – Our Servant” 12/6/17 The Rev. Mark H. Hein St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church