People often have pretty high expectations of each other and themselves, but what does God expect? And how can we reflect this?
24 After John’s messengers left, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 25 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear expensive clothes and indulge in luxury are in palaces. 26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)
In this passage, Jesus invites the crowd to examine what they value in their hearts as he points to the example of John the Baptist. John did not make himself look impressive or put himself above others, even though he had ridiculously important and exciting news to share with people. Instead, he lived humbly as he prepared the way for a humble king, serving others by preaching and baptising them to prepare their hearts for one who would humbly lay his life down for them. In this way, John reflects the loving heart of God. After all, the life of a Christian is not about earthly greatness, but humble service.
In reading this and seeing Jesus repeatedly ask ‘what did you expect?’, I feel encouraged to consider how what humans value compares with what God values. So often people judge others based on looks and personality, and so often we judge ourselves harshly as well. God however, sees each and every one of us as valuable, in spite of everything. So no matter how great somebody is or how terrible by human standards, God is always loving and always merciful to those who seek him. I want to learn to see others and myself through God’s eyes. To see through whatever might be impressive or frustrating by human standards, and see God’s creation; individually crafted, valuable and loved.
Head: What does this passage teach you about humility and service?
Heart: How does this passage impact the way you see God, yourself and others?
Hands: What is one way you can humble yourself to serve others that reflects the love of God?
Prayer: Dear God, You are my greatest example to follow. Thank you that in sending your son to humbly teach, serve, love and lay his life down for all people, you have given me an example to live by. Thank you also for how you glorify the humble and love me according to your mercy and grace, not according to shallow human standards. I’m sorry for the times that I have allowed shallow judgements to prevent me from loving people as you do, and I pray that you would equip me to serve others with your love in my heart. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen
A song to listen to: This is Amazing Grace
Stephanie Wiseman- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina