“Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” John 13:16
Last night, in youth group, our small group questions started with why a proper perspective of You, Lord, is so important to me, to each of us. So, that’s why I’m looking at this verse today. Because I think it all has to do with putting You into proper perspective. That once I know who You are and what You are like, then the rest of my life in You can fall into place properly, as long as I fall under that perspective, that proper vision, that understanding of You. And besides, You introduced this topic with “Verily, verily.” That means You want me to pay attention to this and that this is a foundational truth I need to grasp.
When You say this to me, You are informing me, teaching me, to pick out and gather the important stuff. You want me to stop and think about this for a while, to stop and mull over Your intent and Your thoughts. So, I want to do that again today. What does it mean for me that the servant is not greater than his lord? And what does it mean that he that is sent is not greater than he that sent him?
Well, I think I’m going to start out backwards here and that’s probably most appropriate because I have so much backward thinking that I need to erase. So much of the world has been engrained in me, I need to train myself to look from Your perspective. So, what does it mean that “he that is sent is not greater than he that sent him?”
I need to think first of this phrase with three capital letters, “He that is sent is not greater than He that sent Him.” Jesus, my whole perspective must start with the fact that You were sent here by God. But I have to get this, that the word “sent” is “apostolos” in Greek. You were sent as a delegate, “an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of” Yourself. You were the One sent. God sent You to be the Bearer of the Good News. You are the Good News! Because You are not greater than God, but equal with Him, yet at the same time, You submitted Yourself under Him, You obeyed God and sought after His will. Though You were God, You did not come to make Yourself great, but You came that He that sent You, that He that commissioned You, would be made great and in making Him great, You were made great.
This is the perspective I must start with. Because You are not the only one being sent. You are recipricating what God has done through You and You are sending Your believers, You are sending me. I am Your delegate. I am Your ambassador. I am a commissioner of You. I am not greater than You. And though I am unequal to You, You impart me with everything that is of You so to equip me to carry on the sharing of Your Good News. Therefore, I submit myself under You. I obey You and seek after Your will as though it is my delight. I don’t desire to make myself great, but that You would be made much of. And in doing that, in following Your example, You make much of me.
“The servant is not greater than his lord.” I come to You as a servant. Isaiah 53 says that You came as the Suffering Servant. God Himself, choosing to suffer and serve under Himself, and to serve fallen mankind, to serve even me. I can’t help but think of the fact that You, the Son of man, had no where to lay Your head. You didn’t prepare with lots of money, yet You were always provided for. You didn’t do things the way the world told You to, You did them the way God told You too. You served unto exhaustion. You went where You were needed. You listened. You obeyed God. You were and are the best steward the world has ever had. You cared so dearly for everything under Your hand. You left everything and counted it as nothing to obey Your Father and to serve us and bring us to You. Everything You did brought glory back to God. Everything You did relied on Him. Everything You did came from Him. Everything You did centered on Him.
You became a Servant under Your Lord and Father. But I am called to be Your servant. I am not greater than You, my Lord. My life should represent Your life. My giving should represent Your giving. My living should represent Your living. My care for others should represent Your care. My fervor for righteousness should represent Your fervor. My dependence on God should represent Your dependence on God. How I handle my money and resources should represent how You handled them. I mean, this might seem extreme, but why do I have such a comfortable place to lay my head, when You didn’t have one? I wonder if my comfort is a hindrance to my sharing the Good News? I wonder how many of my comforts are hindering me as Your delegate? I wonder if I’ve fallen into the ways of the culture more than I ever realized? And that leads me to wonder how much I am willing to let go of for You.
How important are You to me? What would I leave to follow You and obey Your commission and enter into Your service and Your presence? Some disciples turned back. They held on to what they knew already, what they had. But how can I? You are Life. You are Hope. You are Power. You are God. You are my Master. I want to follow after You no matter what it takes. I want to be Your clone.
Lord, I want to subject myself to You in every way just like Jesus. I want to trust absolutely in You and not in the things of this world and not in myself or others. I want to live in the middle of Your will, in the middle of Your power, in the middle of You. I want to walk with You. I want to go where You tell me to go. I want to do what You tell me to do and how You tell me to do it. I want to be Your delegate. I want to look like You. I want to be like You. I want to make a difference in the lives of others in You and for You. Lord, let me let go of everything that hinders me from serving You in a proper perspective. I want to be just like You. I want to live by faith and not by sight. Because without faith, it is impossible to please You, for whoever would draw near to You must believe that You are the Ever Existent One and that You are the Reward and Rewarder of those who seek You. (Paraphrase of Hebrews 11:6) This is the example You set for me. This is the life I want to lead. Turn my words into reality, Lord. Make them more than a longing, but let me see it come to pass as I follow You wholeheartedly.