John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Advent Reader -- Day 10

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope." This is what God the Lord says -- the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." (Isaiah 42:1-7) ----------

Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah. (Matthew 12:15-17)

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He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fasted on him. He began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:16-21)

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As the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, Jesus clearly communicated his purpose for coming to this earth: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Jesus did not serve us in spite of his identity, but, rather, precisely because of his identity. Service is part of his very nature. Thus, in calling us to become like himself, he call us to join him in a lifestyle of service and sacrifice.

Such service and sacrifice is not to be done in spite of our positions of leadership but, rather, precisely because of our positions of leadership.

His example of servanthood transcends any that has ever been seen before or since. "At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possible dare to die. But God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).

Such other-centered leadership, having been clearly modeled for us in the life of Jesus, is now our premier calling. We are called, now, not to be served in this world, but to serve and to give our lives away. Thus, by losing our life, we will discover it in its truest sense.

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Lord Jesus, how incredible it is to know that you were willing to submit to such degradation and debasement for my sake. And to think that it is because you knew who you were, why you had come and where you were going, that you were secure enough to serve even the lowliest of men. You knew your dignity and power. You knew your significance and identity. You knew your security and destiny. And yet you never allowed that knowledge to make you arrogant. Rather, this knowledge is what allowed you to serve so selflessly. In like manner, teach me to become secure enough to serve. For in you I have received every spiritual blessing. In you I am now a child of God. In you nothing can separate me from the love of God whom I will see face-to-face. I pray that this understanding will become increasingly real in my life. In your name I pray. Amen.