iMap - What is your destination? - I exist to serve!
(Jesus’ iMap video) Today we conclude this iMap series. So far you’ve heard from Nick Zarley, yours truly back on Mother’s Day – thank you for praying for Team Africa), Duane Gray, David Bondurant, Mark Stier and now Jesus himself! Jesus made it clear on several occasions why he was in this world! I’ll biblically prove it to you, but first, one story!
Bonnie Ware lives in Australia and serves as a nurse. She cares for patients in palliative care. That is, she cares for patients who are dying. Bonnie helps people walk through the final stages of their lives and over the years she noted the Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Regret #1: I wish I had the courage to life a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Bonnie said that many patients near death gained “phenomenal clarity of vision. Health brings a freedom few realize, until they no longer have it.” Regret #2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Bonnie’s observation – every male patient had this same regret! #3: I wish I had the courage to express my feelings. Many patients developed illnesses related to bitterness and resentment. Regret #4: I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends. The reason people didn’t was time and effort. #5: I wish I’d let myself be happier. Truthfully, happiness is a choice.[i] Many chose not to be happy!
Jesus is about to die. He will triumphantly enter Jerusalem in Matthew 21. But for the third time[ii] he explicitly tells his apostles what is going to happen before it happens. Turn in your Bibles today to Matthew 20:17. Do you need a Bible? Jesus makes a six-fold prediction![iii] Read Matthew 20: 17-19. Jesus has the 12 right there with him. “Guys, let’s review. I’m going to Jerusalem. I will be betrayed. The religious leaders are responsible for my death but the Gentiles will carry it out. They will mock, flog and crucify me! BUT – count on it – in three days I will rise! Any questions? Am I clear? I can see the heads shaking now. “We’ve got it down, Jesus!”
Remember, Jesus is about to die. Does he have any regrets? He might after this next conversation! Go to Matthew 20:20a. Then the mother of Zebedee's sons… Unlike Mrs. Job and Mrs. Peter, we know this woman. This is probably Mary’s sister – Salome.[iv] A relative asking a favor would carry more clout – one would think! Finish reading 20-21.
I bet Jesus does a double take right here! Mark 10 tells us that Jesus speaks directly to James & John! That makes sense. Maybe he’s giving their Mom a mulligan. You didn’t hear what I said, but James & John, you did! You think I’m going to Jerusalem for some celebration. But I’m not. I am going there to die! You keep thinking that the enemy is the dreaded Romans, but their not – its Satan. You keep thinking I’m trying to conquer the Roman Empire. I’m not. I’m here to conquer death!
Her request – their request shouts to Jesus they still didn’t get it! Jesus – when we get to Jerusalem – somehow, some way you are going to have absolute power and we want to be chummy with the one who has absolute power. Jesus, who better than the Sons of Thunder to be your body guards – your right and left hand men in your reign on earth?
Jesus appears frustrated. I don’t blame him. Find verse 22. I find my requests of God to be a tad selfish every now and then too. “Jesus, I just want to be happy! Make me happy! Jesus, make my marriage good. Jesus, make me wealthy. Jesus, make me honorable. Jesus, make me famous! Often times we do not understand the depth of our requests! Example – James & John! Go back to verse 22.
Does the name Antonio Stradivarius ring a bell? Stradivarius made approximately 1000 musical instruments – violins, cellos and guitars. Only 650 are known to exist! One Stradivarius cello was on display at Spain’s Royal Palace in Madrid. During a photo shoot it slipped off the table and broke. That cello was worth $20 million.[v] Jesus refers to a cup in verse 22 & 23. But it’s not just any cup! I don’t think for a moment that James & John thought they’d be sipping wine from a gold goblet or cup. They knew that the cup Jesus was referring to was indeed the cup of suffering. They just had no idea how bad the suffering would be. Check out Jesus’ prophetic words in verses 22- 23a… Both did drink the cup of suffering. James would be the 1st apostle to die for his faith in Acts 12 in AD 44. John would be the last. Exiled from his family and friends where he would receive a revelation from Jesus himself in A.D 95.
Both got what they requested. “Jesus we want to be significant. We want to be your right cross and your left jab!” Oh they were. It just didn’t come in the way they requested.
Have you ever said something or did something and begged for that situation to remain on the down low? “This is private, right? Just between you and me?” Did you see the ESPN scoreboard mistake? Lebron plays for Cleveland? ESPN could not get that off the air quick enough. Well, there are 12 apostles and the other ten find out. Drop to verse 24 in Matthew 20! Indignant – displeased, ticked off. I can hear Thomas saying, “I doubt either one of you would make a good leader.” I bet Peter was glad it wasn’t him. Judas was thinking, “The type of leader Jesus needs should be financially savvy! I have the skills Jesus needs!” Truth is – all ten were thinking what James and John thought, but the Thunder boys beat them to the punch. So Jesus uses this situation to teach! Let’s read verses 25-28!
Here is Jesus’ iMap. I exist to serve! I didn’t come to be served. I came to serve! And here’s how! On your outline write, bad example, better example and best example. First, Jesus gives a bad example in verse 25. Two words describe the Roman Empire. Power and authority![vi] Honestly, don’t those two words describe any empire - my empire? Be honest! All of us want power. To physically force you do what I say or authority – to physically force others do what I say! Do you recognize this man? It’s Todd Beckett? But he looks like Barney Fife! Our world is a mess because of the misuse of power and authority! Jesus tells us there is a better example! Verses 26 & 27! The better example is the disciples themselves. We are ALSO to be better examples! Selfish leaders are a dime a dozen, but servant leaders can’t be stopped.
Crazy question? Do you want to be great? Jesus tells us it isn’t wrong to be great! Fill in the blank - I want to be a great doctor? A great parent? A great pray-er! A great athlete? It has very little to do with skill. Think about this – if you can’t pass, shoot, dribble and defend – you wouldn’t be on the court in the first place. A great person is humble, selfless and serves. Jesus is saying – James & John, if you want to be first than give. Selfish leaders take all the time. You be different! You be the example on your team, in your business, in your family, in your church family and in your community on what it means to be great! SERVE! May I present some tangible examples?
VBS begins June 24. We still need 50 crew leaders. I’m going to serve as a 5th grade crew leader. Would you serve this way? Sign up in the lobby or go online! Typically June is a WARM month! Would you serve Jesus by giving food to the Westerville Area Resource Ministry the entire month of June? To those who need it most? And would you believe this? Westerville South HS asked us to do a little mulching at the front of their building. We are going to do this today. Meet at WCC at 1PM or at WS after 1:15PM. Please bring gloves, rakes, trimmers, shovels, maybe a wheelbarrow? If we have 12 to 15 people – we’ll knock this out in 2 to 3 hours!
Here’s one more tangible example of servant greatness. Jesus gives a bad example, a better example and now the best example. Verse 28! Jesus served in many ways. He preached. He looked for people who were lost and led them back to God. He led as a servant. He led differently. And ultimately he gave his life away as a ransom – the price paid to free a slave or prisoner! Do you like inspirational movies? I read an article entitled, The Top 20 Inspirational Movies in the Past 20 years![vii] Here are a few on the list: Soul Surfer: Bethany Hamilton said, “Surfing isn’t the most important thing in life. Love is. I’ve had the chance to embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two.” The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: The words of Mr. Beaver. “Aslan…is on the move!” UP: Dug the kind talking dog said. “I was hiding under your porch because I love you!” Remember the Titans: “People say that it can’t work, black and white. Here, we make it work every day. We still have our disagreements, of course, but before we reach for hate, always, always, we remember the Titans.” Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living, or get busy dying!” The Passion of the Christ: This movie changed Christian based cinema. It forced songwriters to think twice about writing sweet, sappy songs in regards to Jesus’ torturous death on the cross. We took communion not long ago. We do that to remember. Remember that Jesus served God by giving his life. His spilled blood paid the ransom so we might be free from sin and death and to live for God! One more movie! Schindler’s List! I remember Itzhak Stern saying, “There will be generations because of what you did.” Oskar Schindler replied, “I didn’t do enough.” Why do any of us “DO?” As Christ followers we follow our leader and he exists to serve! So should we! End with iMap video
[i] PreachingToday.com Nurse Records the Top Five Regrets of the Dying
[ii] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 476
[iii] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 477
[iv] Larry Chouinard, College Press NIV Commentary, Matthew, 357
[v] PreachingToday.com / News that Illustrates, May 14, 2012
[vi] EBC, Matthew 20:24-27, 92
[vii] Top 20 Inspirational Movies in the past 20 years