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True Greatness

March 9, 2015

serve arch William Barclay, a Scottish theologian and minister, said, “The world may assess a man’s greatness by the number of people whom he controls and are at his beck and call; or by his intellectual standing and his academic eminence or by the number of committees of which he is a member; or by the size of his bank balance and the material possessions which he has amassed; but in the assessment of Jesus Christ these things are irrelevant.” The measure of greatness is not power, influence, control or prestige. The measure of greatness is a measure defined by Jesus Himself.

Mark 10:45 declares, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” Those who would follow Jesus must be like Him. Jesus’ entrance into this world was not for rule, domination, conquest or control. His purpose in coming was to serve, to ministering to the deepest need of the world.

Jesus came because He knew the real need of the world. The real need of mankind is not political. Man’s great need not a change in our national and international leadership, a better education system, freedom from government intrusion, universal healthcare, peace in the Middle East, free trade agreements, the end of racial injustice or any of the dozens of other topics that flit across the news screens throughout the day. The great need of man is a need of a Savior.

Man is enslaved to sin and death. Man is hopelessly condemned because of his own personal guilt and has no hope of escaping that condemnation. Every person on the planet enters life shackled with the chains of Satan’s dominion, of sin’s corruption and of certain destruction. Jesus came to meet that need.

Jesus came to serve man, meeting man’s need by giving Himself as the ransom for the world. Jesus ransom is the ultimate in sacrificial service. As Jesus says in John 13, “The servant is no greater than his master.” “I have given you an example that you should do as I have done.” Jesus’ service for the world sets the example which the Christian must follow.

This measure of greatness leaves Christian’s with a seeming paradox. We still tend to view greatness in terms of power and influence. However, Jesus says, “whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” Striving for power and authority has no place in the church. Such behavior is decidedly unlike Christ. It is the direct opposite of Christ’s behavior. Greatness in Christ is measured by service. The one who serves most is the greatest. The lowest is the highest and the highest is the lowest. This is the chief characteristic of importance in Jesus’ kingdom. He is not impressed with those who chair large committees, who influence great decision or who give large sums of money. He is pleased with those who set themselves aside to lift up others. Jesus turns the world’s view of greatness upside-down. Not authority, but humility make a man great in Jesus’ kingdom.


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