Only What Was Our Duty

Due to the Independence Day holiday and spending time with my family, I am only posting a suggested Scripture reading today. There is no devotional content. Thanks for reading. Have a great holiday if you are in the U.S.A. If you have not already done so, please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along every day.

Reading the Word

Luke 17:7–10 (ESV)

7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

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Leaders Must Be Servants

Mark 935 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Mark 9:33–37 (ESV)

33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

Parallel Texts: Matthew 18:1-5; Luke 9:46-48

Understanding and Applying the Word

The disciples had been arguing with one another about which of them was the greatest. The argument stemmed from their continued misunderstanding of Jesus as the Messiah. They were still failing to understand that Jesus’ kingdom was not a geopolitical kingdom. He had not come to save the Israelites from the Romans. He had not come to reestablish Israel as a great power like it had been in the days of King David. He had come to deliver the Israelite people, and all people, from bondage to sin and death. Jesus was a Messiah who was going to die for his people.

The disciples were expecting Jesus to take the throne and put them into prominent positions. This thinking is why they argued over which of them was the greatest. They wondered who Jesus would entrust with the most power in his kingdom.

Jesus explained that leadership in his kingdom was not about promoting self. In fact, true leadership is self-sacrificing. A true leader looks out for others and does whatever is necessary to help others flourish. This is exactly what Jesus did for mankind. He gave up his own life so that those who trust in him can flourish. He went to the cross to take the sins of the world on himself and give his righteousness to all who would believe. And he has called on his followers to lay aside their own lives for the sake of others and for the sake of the gospel.

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Called to Serve

The Healing of Peter's Mother-in-law

The Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law (Public Domain)

Reading the Word

Mark 1:29–31 (ESV)

29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 8:14-15; Luke 4:38-39

Understanding and Applying the Word

We read here that Jesus went to the home of Simon and Andrew. He withdrew from the public eye and was in a private setting. We are told that Simon’s mother-in-law was sick with a fever. There are two things to note here. Simon is Peter. Jesus will change his name to Peter later, but that is the name we usually know him by. Also, Peter must have been married, given that he had a mother-in-law.

Jesus went to Peter’s mother-in-law and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Presumably, she was lying down and he helped her to her feet. Immediately, her fever was gone. Jesus had healed her and once again showed his great power and authority.

Notice the response of Peter’s mother-in-law. We are told that she “began to serve them.” The word “serve” in this text is the word that we get “deacon” from, which simply speaks of one who serves. Throughout the New Testament, we read of the great importance of serving others as a response to what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Peter’s mother-in-law gives us a glowing example of the proper response to God’s grace in our lives. We are called to serve.

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