(Jesus said) "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:25b-28
It has only been a few short weeks since we returned from a recording tour in Israel.
If you talk to the 180 pilgrims who were with us, most will tell you they never felt afraid of the political events which were unfolding. Even so, when our plane touched down in New York, the people applauded.
My travels abroad have shown that Americans almost always applaud when they come home. Maybe that's true for other nations too, but I know it's true for us. That's the kind of thing that can happen when people live in a land of freedom.
In contrast, take a look at Egypt. I have traveled to that country half a dozen times. It is a grand, even a great country, with an unprecedented history. Even so, events of the last few years have clouded both the liberty and the future of Egypt's people.
It was only 2011 when President Mubarak was tossed out. After Mubarak, Mohamed Morsi was brought to power in an election and its results were annulled by the Egyptian courts. Some have placed their hope in the still unseen Constitution, but many in Egypt are fearful that document will take away more freedom, as it turns Egypt into an Islamic state.
Desiring to hold onto power, Morsi has now given himself almost dictatorial powers over every aspect of the government: the courts, the military, the assembly, the Constitution. He says the action was both necessary and temporary. There are those who are doubtful.
What a contrast there is between our Savior and such "men of the people." Quite rightly, Jesus pointed out the world's political leaders often like to think of themselves as "benefactors" or good-deed doers. Yes, that's what they claim.
But Jesus is different than such men. He doesn't make foolish claims or empty boasts.
On the contrary. His life backs up every claim He ever made. That's because the Son of God, the Savior of the world became one of us, so He might serve us. This He did by refusing to fall for Satan's temptations or by allowing Himself to be caught up by the world's sinful pleasures.
From His first breath past the moment the clouds at His ascension hid Him from view, Jesus did all things rightly and well, so we might know the Father has sent His Son as the Servant whose life has ransomed us, redeemed us, and restored us to the family of faith.
Jesus has won us both forgiveness and freedom, and for this He should be applauded.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Jesus has done for us what no other earthly leader can hope to do: Jesus has served His people and saved them from their sins. May all the world rejoice in the Savior's victory in seeking and saving the lost. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries