"Who Is Greatest?"
December 7, 2012
And when they came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they were silent; for on the way they had discussed with one another who was the greatest. And He sat down and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all." And He took a child, and put him in the midst of them; and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in My Name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me." Mark 9:33-37
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
When Jesus prophesied his own betrayal and crucifixion, it did not make any sense to His disciples because it did not fit their understanding of what the Messiah came to do.
I wonder how often do we, like the disciples, center our thoughts on what we want and not what the Lord wants? For example, we have heard the Good News of God's Word, and we know the eternal destinies of those who believe and those who do not. But, the question remains: do we take the Lord seriously? Do we give our Savior our full faithfulness and mold our lives according to the principles He suggests?
Without having met you I cannot presume to know what answer you would offer to that question. If you are like me, you will probably need to be begging the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit and to breathe into you a respect for His Word and a readiness to obey it.
In that goal, Jesus, Himself, is our model.
Quite freely and regularly Jesus confessed that He had come not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (see Matthew 20:28). Similarly, Paul the apostle states that Jesus emptied Himself and took the form of a servant (see Philippians 2:7). And again Scripture is clear when it says Jesus lowered Himself, when He left His place at the Father's right hand and took on our lowly nature that He might offer us forgiveness, hope and salvation.
These are all passages which remind us that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (see James 4:6).
In practical terms, that means if we want to be filled with God's life and power, then we need to be emptied of everything that stands in the way of the Holy Spirit taking control of us. Included in that list would be pride, self-seeking glory, vanity, etc.
Does that seem like we need to jettison a lot of who we were? Maybe so, but God's best work in us takes place when we are empty vessels, which He can fill with His own thoughts, directions and work (see 2 Corinthians 4:7).
This leads me to ask, are you ready to humble yourself and to serve as Jesus did? I pray we are.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may I never fail to see Your glory and victory in the cross. Help me to conform my life to Your will and to follow in Your way of holiness. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: The author of today's international devotion is Pastor Don Jin Lim. Once a famous actor in Korea, Pastor Lim became ill and had to undergo surgery. After the operation he recovered and entered Luther University. Today he is in charge of Yeollinmoon Church in Suwon. It is pastor's hope that this place will become a center for the performance of Christian arts in Daeharkro. In Korea LHM sponsors theater and music performances such as "Jazz and Vespers," which give the general public a chance to connect with Christians and local congregations. Additionally, LHM ministers to local Koreans through its website, newsletter, and Korean-language videos and books.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries