Jesus Comes into Our Life (Jesus as the Servant Leader)


We are continuing our new sermon series this morning: “A wider view of God”. In this series, we are celebrating that all of us have a window or perspective into the character of God. None of us see God completely or fully. But all of us see and know some part of God. Thus, if we want to know God more, we need two things: (1) we need to pursue him ourselves. (2) We need to pursue him alongside people who are different from us: people from different ethnic groups, different genders, different generations, socio-economic groups, different abilities. And, of course, we need people with different perspectives.

As the world becomes more diverse (and as the church becomes more diverse), differences can feel like a threat. We are tempted to wonder, “why don’t other people behave as I do?” and “Why don’t other people care about the same things that I care about?” Over this series, Pastor Adrian and I are interviewing diverse members of our congregation, asking three questions:

  1. Which person of the Trinity do you feel closest to?
  2. What characteristics of God are most important to you?
  3. Can you share the story of the Gospel in a few sentences?

For those who are interviewed, we’re not even going to be able to share everything you say. There’s just too much good stuff even in those three questions. But to those of you who are listening—know that you may not see things the same way. But that is the point. So ask yourself, “what does this person see about God that I do not? How can I learn from her or him? How can I appreciate them?

Two weeks ago, I talked with Insuk Lee. She’s been a part of our church for about 20 years and has faithfully been serving RPC as a leader for Mosaic ministries for 12 years. It has been a privilege for me to work with her to serve our church together to this point. Let me share her answers with you.

Insuk Transcript

  1. Which person of the Trinity do you feel closest to?
    Jesus Christ. Jesus came into our life and died on the cross for us. He was tempted as we are tempted, lived the life as we live, and suffered as we suffer. Jesus fully understands us through His experiences, and that makes me feel closest to Him.
  2. What characteristics of God are most important to you?
    Firstly, love. Romans 8:32 says, ‘He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?’
    This verse expresses well about how much God loves us.
    Secondly, wisdom
    God knows all and He Himself is wisdom. We can put trust in Him and joyfully follow Him with confidence as our model leader.
  3. Can you share the story of the Gospel in a few sentences?
    Jesus truly loves us, taught us about His love for this world, and took action to save us by sacrificing Himself on the cross. He was raised from the dead and is living in us. As His followers, I will continue to share the love of Christ with our neighbors throughout the rest of my life.

Servant Leader
About 2/3rds of the human population on earth belong to collectivist cultures. In those cultures, the leader’s role is greatly important. Their role is not just facilitating discussions or cooperation between community members. They are supposed to protect their members from any threats or harm, provide a direction, guide them with deep insights and wisdom, resolve community issues, and grow their community better. They don’t hesitate to sacrifice themselves for their community members.

They have almost unlimited responsibility and also great power to properly serve their community. They are highly respected by their members and are a role model for them. Leaders serve, and also lead.

That is an expectation for their leaders within their community. Serving as a leader in that culture could be a big burden and pressure because they are all fall short of people’s expectations. Of course, there is no perfect leader like that, except Jesus. Insuk came from that culture and views Jesus as the perfect model servant leader for God’s kingdom community that we belong to. This morning, from this perspective, we are going to look at Jesus as our perfect servant leader.

The Servant Leadership of Our Lord
In Mark 10, James and John asked Jesus to place them at His side in His kingdom to come. When the other ten disciples heard about this, they became indignant with James and John at the arrogance of their request.

That is how people in the world think about leadership. In their perspective, leaders have a right to dominate subordinates, exercise power and authority, control others, and tell them what to do. We might be tempted to adopt this aspect of leadership when we have become a leader.

Jesus called His disciples together and said, “43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 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.”

Jesus modeled the true leadership in His kingdom community. The servant leadership is deeply rooted in the life of Jesus Christ. The Lord incarnated, bent down and washed His disciples’ feet, taught them the true measure of leading by first serving others, and gave His life as a ransom for many.

1 John 1:1-4
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

The Leader Has Always Been with Us
One of the best experiences we can have in our life is loving someone or being loved by someone. When we love, we want to be closely connected with the person and serve. We become eager to be together and do life together. Our Triune God loves us so much and has always been with us since He created us.

God, Jesus, walked with Adam and Eve and talked with them in the Garden of Eden. God, Jesus, was with the Israelites in the pillar of cloud above the tabernacle when they were in the wilderness. When His glory filled the tabernacle or the temple, God, Jesus, was with His people there. God, Jesus, was with His people in the voice of the prophets and in the ark of the covenant.

While we were sinners and lost without hope, Jesus left the glories of heaven and took on the form of a servant to live among us in our day-to-day human struggles and die for us on the cross. God, Jesus, has never given up on us or left us. From the beginning, out of love, He has desperately been pursuing us: you and me, and will continue until He returns.

The Leader’s Humble Journey to Come into Our Life
When we think of Christ’s incarnation, we usually begin from thinking about baby Jesus in a manger. He came into this sinful world with nothing as a helpless baby in a very humble way. That gives us a big message. But Christ’s humble and challenging journey started even when He was in the womb of Mary.

Joseph and Mary lived in Galilee, and Mary was expecting a child, but the child had to be born in Bethlehem as it had been prophesied. God is sovereign over all things in the world. Rome had taken a census regularly for both military and tax purposes, and Augustus Caesar issued the decree. Each Jewish male had to return to the city of his fathers to record his name, occupation, property, and family. The taxation happened just at the right time and in the right way.

There is no clear indication of this in the Bible, but it seems that Joseph and Mary had planned for the child to be delivered in Nazareth because God used the taxation to force Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.

They had to travel about 150 km from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the birth of the Messiah. Mary was about to deliver a baby. There were no fast and comfortable modes of transportation like today. They had to travel to the south along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and into Bethlehem. Mary’s condition would have required frequent breaks, so the journey would have taken longer than usual. Can you imagine how challenging the journey must have been for Mary and her family?

When they arrived in Bethlehem, it was not the end of their journey. The town was very crowded because there were many other people who also needed to register. So, there was no room for them, and they had to spend the night in the stables. This must have been difficult as Mary was struggling with labor pain that she had never experienced before.

The Leader Fully Understands Us Through Experiences
We were born in this broken world. This world is full of broken people who are self-centered and are only looking for what benefits them. Even we often do the same as they do. That is why the Lord said, ‘In this world, you will have trouble.’ There is no one without difficulties and suffering in life. Challenges are a part of our life. Sometimes, you might be tempted to blame your parents, personal circumstances, others or even God for your difficulties and challenges.

You need to remember that Jesus took the very humble and challenging course that He didn’t deserve at all, to come to us and to live with us. I guess all of us were born in a better situation than Christ, our Lord. He fully knows and understands your struggles and circumstances regardless of how much they are challenging you.

Hebrews 4:15-16
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Jesus was conceived in the womb and was born like us. He experienced normal aging like us. He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. In His humanity, Jesus was subjected to all the same kinds of trials that we are. He had physical needs and human emotions. He was poor, despised, persecuted, and suffered a most cruel death. He learned and grew as we learn and grow, lived the life as we live, suffered as we suffer, but He did it all without sin. Jesus fully understands us not only by His perfect knowledge, but also through His experiences. We can approach our Lord with confidence and receive mercy and grace in our time of need.

The Leader is Suffering with Us and is Protecting Us
Matthew 8:23-26
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

When the disciples faced the furious storm on the boat, they were so afraid of it. But you need to note that Jesus was with them in the storm. He was in the same boat with His disciples. When the disciples called for Him, He calmed the winds and the waves.

The Lord is not telling us what to do from a distance or outside of the storm. He is always in the same boat with us whatever situation we are in. He is experiencing the same winds and waves that we are suffering from. Facing storms in life are inevitable. Let’s not forget the fact that God Himself is in our boat together in our time of troubles.

We are God’s chosen people. We are His special possession and belong to Him. That means God is always present among us and will be forever. Living in God’s presence or sensing Him with us is not about our feeling nor is it an abstract concept. It is reality and God-given privilege for Christians. Can you say Amen to that?

God is the only one we can take refuge in. Peace and comfort will come from Him when we call for Him and truly put trust in the Lord. He will never leave us alone.

The Leader is Our Light and Guides Us
1 John 1:5-7
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Jesus Christ has come into the world, bringing the good news of God’s salvation to every person. If you have arrived at your home at night, you can see nothing until you turn on the light. The life of Christ serves as a light to all people in the world. Christians have passed from darkness into light.

By loving our brothers, sisters, neighbors, and even our enemies, Christians shine light into the darkness. Our Lord continues to shine His light onto this world through His church, us.

Psalm 119:105 says `Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’

Our Lord guides us into the ways of the good and keeps us on the path of righteousness. But God does not show us our whole life picture. He does not reveal to us all the details about our future all at once. He lets us know just as much as we need.

Have you ever imagined what it would be like if God let you know all the details of the future as you wish, such as what is going to happen, who you are going to meet, what this person is going to do, and when the last day of your life would be?

I think we would lose interest in our life and may not seek God often. Our life is a journey of faith, building up a loving and trusting relationship with Him. He is our perfect leader, and we should continue to listen to His voice every step we take.

Follow Our Servant Leader and Make Our Joy Complete

John says in verse 4, ‘We write this to make our joy complete.’ The first disciples of Christ had seen Jesus with their eyes and had touched Him with their hands. They proclaimed to us what they experienced so that we may also have fellowship with the Father and with the Son, Jesus Christ as they did. This made their joy complete.

When you taste the love, the truth, and the power of Christ, and experience the sweet fellowship with Him, you cannot remain unchanged because God’s love and power is transformative, and His love will flow naturally from our hearts to others.

It doesn’t matter how many books about love you study or how long you can talk about love. You will still not be able to truly understand love until you actually love others as Jesus does.

It doesn’t matter how many Scripture passages you memorize or how long you can talk about Jesus. Your joy and satisfaction in life is going to be incomplete until you actually share the love of Christ with others.

The life of Christ is not just something we need to know but is something we should live out. Jesus is the perfect model servant leader for His kingdom community who we should trust and follow. Then, our neighbors will see and encounter the Lord who lives in us. The Lord will change the world through us, and His kingdom community will continue to grow.

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