The Service of Jesus

The Service of Jesus June 8, 2023

One of the unique beliefs of the Christian faith is that God chooses to serve his creation. The idea that Almighty God would give himself as a sacrifice for lesser beings can often be offensive to people of other faiths – how could God be great if he serves? And yet he does. When Jesus washed his disciples’ filthy, faeces encrusted feet, Simon Peter was similarly confused, even horrified, but Jesus made it clear that if Simon didn’t allow Jesus to serve him in this way, he had no part in him at all. Peter’s response was to humble himself before the service of God. John 13:9

 

“Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

 

We too, need to humble ourselves before the express will of God – that he chooses to serve us, not only at the incarnation or even the cross, but in every area of our lives. His service is so generous it is difficult to grasp – for me, it is a revelation that deepens year on year, inspiring ever-increasing gratitude. Today, I hope to shine a light on the many-facetted service of Jesus through Psalm 23.

 

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.

 

Though written around a thousand years before the birth of Christ, for me, this psalm can only be a prophetic utterance of the Good Shepherd.

 

The service of abundant provision

 

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

 

When meditating on this passage, certain truths rise to the surface – the Lord looks after us, provides for us, leads us to peace, stillness and contentment, and heals us of brokenness. Why should God care about his creation so? Because we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and because he is love! When reading these verses, I am moved by the tender mercies of the Lord.

 

The service of guidance, comfort, and protection

 

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

 

As an indoctrinated young man, I saw the ‘paths of righteousness’ as strict, fixed sets of behaviour and a rules-based lifestyle. As a much older and hopefully wiser person, I see the paths of righteousness as the ways of love. Jesus summed up the entire Hebrew Law in two commandments after all – to love God with everything we have, and to love others as we do ourselves.

 

Naturally, the Lord’s leading will have lifestyle implications when it comes to behaviours and habits that harm ourselves or other people. He wants us free – not out of duty but for our own sake, and the sake of the world. God is glorified when he is seen for who he is – loving, involved, committed, and ultimately victorious.

 

When we go through the valley of the shadow of death (times of peril and threat), he is right by our side, leading and guiding us safely to the other side. There have been a couple of seasons in my life when the threat of calamity was overwhelming. The Lord whispered to me each and every day, urging patience and calm and showing me which steps to take, one at a time. When the valley walls receded and I emerged onto green pastures once more, I knew I could not have made it through without his attentiveness and care. The leading of God is a profound act of service. We have a maker who absolutely adores his creation, and in times of darkness he draws nearer than ever.

 

The service of blessing

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

 

I find this statement hard to fathom, but choose to accept God’s extravagant love – in our victories, Jesus prepares a feast for us. With the eyes of my spirit, I sense his joy and deep satisfaction at our triumphs. He has helped us learn the ways of love, led us through the valley of the shadow of death, and as we emerge into freedom he prepares a table before us. He seats us, anoints our heads with oil, and fills our cups till they run over. It is a picture of absolute abundance, but what touches me the most is that it is he who prepares the table, he who anoints us, he who serves, when with all my heart I know it ought to be me. And yet, as Jesus instructed Peter, we are to humble ourselves by accepting the service of God if we want any part of him.

 

The character of Jesus pours from the final, sweet words of the psalm:

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Forever.

 

Goodness and mercy will not only be available to us, they will follow us all the days of our lives. The service of Jesus is to perpetually pursue us with love.

 

The God who serves

 

As the years go by, I am increasingly stunned by the service of Jesus. He has all my worship, adoration, and reverence because he is God and we are not, and yet his loving gaze is always upon us. Even now, Christ intercedes for us in Heaven, and you and I are not just followers of, but co-heirs with Christ, set to inherit all that is his, along with him. God has called us to complete unity with him and with each other, and has prepared treasures and blessings beyond our ability to fathom. I’m sure many readers will empathise when I say I am barely scratching the surface of all that is ours in Christ. It seems that there is no end to the good news!

 

Note from the author: Any readers wanting to support me can make a pledge to my Patreon page.

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