public servants November 1 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: John 12:20-50; Mark 14:1-11; Matthew 26:1-16; Luke 22:1-6; John 12:1-11

To Serve or be Served?

In America we live in a “Me” generation. Cars, homes, clothing, food, entertainment, and even people are for “my” comfort, “my” looks, “my” reputation, and what will make “me” happy. There are, however, those who serve their community and nation with altruistic motives, and we appreciate their sacrifices and service. Jesus also lived a life of sacrifice and service, not for any glory or praise of his own, but for the glory of his Father in heaven, the God of the universe.

Jesus expended his days on earth in service. Jesus healed and did many miracles while teaching people about life and godliness, and he warned them of false teachers. He often worked long days with people constantly thronging him and never giving him a moment’s peace. Jesus used every opportunity, free or not, to teach his apostles. He loved them and gave them all he had. As the nearness of his death came, Jesus told his disciples of his unselfish mission and encouraged them to follow his example. He said,

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?” No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. “Father glorify your name!” (John 12:23-28, NIV)

Jesus’ purpose was to fulfill the will of his father in heaven, i.e., to be crucified on the cross to save humanity from their sins and provide new life by his perfect sacrifice. He could have sought to preserve his life, but Jesus did not do that. He could have sought popularity and positions of power, but Jesus did not do that. Instead, he would become as a seed planted into a ground, which dies to give new life and an abundant harvest. That abundant harvest would include souls who believe in Jesus and who would then become new creations in Christ. Jesus can give you spiritual life if you believe in him (more...). After Jesus would leave this earth, his disciples would take up his mantle and live sacrificial lives (as recorded in the book of Acts).

Six days before the Passover Feast, the time of his coming death, Jesus and his disciples were invited to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. They held a feast in his honor, perhaps in gratitude for Jesus raising their brother Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus came, Mary did a very unselfish thing; she took a bottle of expensive perfume and anointed Jesus’ head and feet and dried it with her hair. “What a waste!” Judas Iscariot thought.

“Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages,” he said. He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the moneybag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me,” (John 12:5-8, NIV).

Apparently, Judas was incensed, having lost an opportunity for making some money. He was selfish, unthankful and greedy. He went to the chief priests and offered to deliver Jesus into their hands for thirty pieces of silver, the compensation price for a slave gored by an ox (Exodus 21:32). Judas Iscariot was a traitor. Apparently, Judas did not think Jesus’ life was of much value. Is Christ of much value to you?

Lessons to live by:

  • Jesus came to do, not his own will, but the will of the Father. Whose will are we seeking to please?
  • Jesus calls his disciples to a life of sacrifice and service, not comfort. Are we seeking a life of comfort and ease? Then, we are not seeking Christ.
  • There are things of much greater value than money - eternal things (more...). Let us not be selfish. Let us give our all to Christ.

Today’s Bible memory verses:

John 15:12-14 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (NIV)

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