We need to understand how Jesus served us and then try to serve others.
Luke 23:26 – 38
The crucifixion of Jesus
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, “Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!” 30 Then
‘“they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’
and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’”
31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?’
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’[b] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.’
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.
Jesus did not come to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. It is a familiar statement that came from Jesus himself. The passage for today displays it for us with great clarity. The broad picture is that Jesus was being led to the cross and then crucified. He interacted with various people along the way. What stands out is that at every step, Jesus was serving his people.
Firstly, the whole matter of the cross is Jesus laying down his life for his people. He was the perfect sacrificial Passover Lamb of God. He was the once and for all sacrifice of the Day of Atonement and so on. By bearing, in himself, the sins of his people he would provide perfect and eternal forgiveness. Secondly, we can see in all the brokenness he experienced he did not depart from his intent of serving so that his people would be saved.
Notice that Jesus was so physically broken he needed Simon of Cyrene to carry his cross for him. Yet even in that physical condition, he turned his attention to the people who followed and spoke to them of their need to find peace with their God.
Similarly, when it came time for him to be crucified, he was praying for those responsible for his death. His words, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”, (v34) are still stunning no matter how familiar we may be with them. We would expect a curse from somebody in that position but the one who came to serve just kept on serving.
When people mocked him and laughed that he could not save himself, he kept on showing that he came to serve, not himself, but his people. He could have removed himself from the cross but stayed there to save the people he came to serve.
In John’s gospel, chapter 13, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as an act of humble service to them. It symbolized the act of love he was about to perform at the cross. Peter, ever the impulsive one, tried to stop Jesus doing this on the ground that he should be serving Jesus. Jesus’ response was, “if I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8) Like Peter, we all need to be served by our Lord Jesus or we have no hope. Jesus then went on to tell them, “you must wash the feet of one another.” (Jn13:14) In other words, Jesus serves us, and we serve others as our expression of thanksgiving.
As we reflect on this amazing way Jesus has served us, we can rejoice in all the blessings that we have in him, forgiveness and everlasting life among many others. Then, out of thanksgiving, praise and worship, we can focus on our calling to be ones who serve others. We act in the very best interests of others when we direct them to Jesus who gave himself for his people.
Head: Understand the amazing love shown by Jesus as he serves you.
Heart: Love as Christ loves you.
Hands: Act on the love Christ has stirred in you.
Prayer: Father, I can never fathom the depths of sorrow, pain and rejection Jesus endured at the cross. Help me to understand better and please make that knowledge of Jesus’ love to me create in me a great love for others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
A Song to listen to: See the Man
Living Church – Creek Road