Who Would Jesus Serve?

Who Would Jesus Serve? December 19, 2022

When I read stories like this one, it leads me as a Christian to this question: Who would Jesus serve?

In John’s Gospel (John 2) we read that Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Pretty cool, right? You know what’s even cooler? He didn’t ask if the people he knew he would be providing this service to, the ones imbibing, were gay.

And, for that matter, whether they were…anything.

In the other Gospel narratives we read of Jesus feeding the five thousand. Of note is that he didn’t have to. In Matthew’s Gospel (Matt 14), the disciples come to Jesus and tell him it’s the end of the day; they tell him he needs to let all these people who have gathered to hear him- to head into town to buy food.

He could have done that. As the Son of God, he also could have discerned the nature and history of each person there (he knew the woman at the well had been married several times). He could have learned which ones were divorced or committing adultery. He could have learned which ones were greedy, dishonest, or unkind. Or, turning to sexuality, he could have learned which ones were gay (LGBT…). And who knows, maybe he knew all that beforehand.

And what, regardless, does he tell his disciples (and future Church)? He says, “You feed them.” You serve them. And he’s not even offering his services for money or for anything in return. He’s choosing to feed all of them, regardless of an “exchange” mentality and regardless their sexuality or life history.

Moreover, he’s choosing to feed them, serve them, provide something, regardless of whether they agree with him on every single issue under the sun or whether or not they agree with his morality or view of sexuality. For instance, he didn’t ask them to first clarify their views of marriage, religion, politics, or any other area of life—before deciding to serve them. Amazing, right?

Let’s consider now the washing of feet (John 13). Yes, that lowliest and most humbling acts of service, of love. Contrast that act with the act of offering a service for money, recompense for material gain. You know, when your hands are kept clean and it’s an equal exchange of goods. When considering the two acts, one done out of love and service and the other an exchange of goods, we would think the act done out of pure love and humility is the one of greater consideration and reflection, right?

And would that not also ask of us to consider what it means to engage, to exchange, to be involved with people- in general? Meaning, whether a meeting of the eyes in passing on the street or in a greater relationship, over time, no matter how mundane or deep.

My point is that where in these relationships does the over-riding question become: Does this person agree with me in most areas of significant philosophy, theology, culture, politics, etc.?

For Christians, the Creator of all things, the King, the Lord of the universe, of existence, bends the knee and washes the feet of those created or those considered only dust. How can this be? This is the reversal of fortunes; this is to turn upside down the logic of this age and every age.

So now comes this person of dust, with their small complaint-like an elephant giving birth to a mouse. Loved, yes, but of dust…created…and in need of salvation. Like all of us, scarred and in need of forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love. Here they come and in their weakness, blindness, and ignorance…feel they can’t serve those they disagree with as to matters, they may not even have a great understanding or grasp of.

How sad. How pitiful. When Jesus served or helped people, he didn’t appear to see it as agreeing, or supporting, or being in alliance with those he was serving or helping as far as everything that person thought or believed. He saw far beyond such.

So Jesus washed feet. Remember, for Christians, this is the person noted here:

He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” -Col 1:15-20

The Jesus noted above chose to wash the feet of Judas. Full stop. Jesus didn’t feel his “rights” or his “free speech” were being assaulted by doing so. Yes, I know, those are anachronistic terms in this context, but my point isn’t. And are we to believe that Jesus meant, by this act, he was in agreement with Judas as to his inner character or future actions? Of course not.

I just want to make sure I have this straight: There are people who claim to follow this person called Jesus, who feel they can’t serve, provide an exchange of goods to (for money mind you), or whatever, because they are “offended” or disagree with the people asking for their service/goods over some issue or other.

And not over an issue like actual evil or significant ethical failure (the person is a murderer, sadist, priest/pastor who has abused children/people, all-around bad person, etc.) but over an issue where many reasonable people, many Christians, people of good will, disagree.

Somehow they think it means they are in agreement with the person, regarding everything they may believe or have done, simply by offering their service—whether paid or unpaid. Well, if that’s the case, they may want to retreat to a cave in the dessert and serve or provide paid services to- no one.

So, do I have that right? These people think themselves above Christ in their sense of who we should serve or provide a service to? Christ isn’t offended, but they are? Got it.

Do Christians who file these lawsuits realize they may not be defending religious “liberty” but signaling to the entire world how highly and privileged they think of themselves? Or, of how fragile they are?  I doubt it. That requires a prerequisite emotional and social self-awareness, humility, maturity, Christian discipleship, and a sense of one’s own frailty and faults.

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