Have you ever done a search on the internet for a one-hit wonder? You know, someone who was a star of screen or stage or had a hit single out that was all the rage and then they just disappeared? The search would be along the lines of, “Whatever happened to…” and you can fill in the blank.
For some reason these people’s light shone for a moment, but like a shooting star they faded away as quickly as they appeared. Why? Because they either didn’t have the talent, management, offers or breaks that could sustain their short-lived careers in the limelight. But Jesus was nothing like these people and we can see the reasons in part from this section of scripture.
A Man of Substance
Why did these “shooting stars” flame out so quickly? Because in one way or another they lacked the foundation that was substantial enough to maintain their position. They had no substance and so they just disappeared.
But Jesus was a man of substance. Even more than that He is the Son of God. His “star” continues to shine and grow as time goes on and is not in any danger of fading away.
His substance comes from God and the knowledge of who He is and what His role was. He had a purpose given him by God the Father to fulfill on this earth, and he fulfilled it. He came not to do his own will but to do the will of the Father.
His brothers said to him in this section, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” (Verses 3-4) But Jesus declined at that time telling them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil.” (Verses 6-7)
The substance of Jesus purpose was to do the will of the Father, not to follow his own path. His brothers were saying, as the world does today, that you need to show yourself if your aim is to be seen to be someone. Today we would say you need to promote yourself or advertise or “put yourself out there” where you can be seen.
But that was not Jesus’ purpose. He was not seeking self glory but the glory of His father. He was not self-promoting because he was promoting the Father and the teachings, works and ministry that had been given to Him to do while on earth.
It’s Not About You
And the same applies to us. Our purpose in the Lord is not to serve ourselves but to serve God. Our aim is to glorify Jesus by the life that we lead and the transformation of our life through the working of the Holy Spirit.
It’s not about us but about Him. We serve Jesus to show His glory and the power of His teachings. We come to Jesus to learn obedience, not to seek to be in charge. We are not, or should not be seeking followers but serving those who come to follow Christ.
Our aim is to serve Christ and not to please ourselves for that is our call. What He wants us to do is of most importance, not what we want to do. We are learning humility and servitude so that we can do His work. But it is not with reward for it is his good pleasure to reward those who come to him and seek him out, especially those who are prepared to do His work.
Who Are You Working For?
Unlike the way that the world works, as a person advances in Christianity they do not become the master but the servant. We are not working for ourselves but for Christ. As we grow in Christ we seek to grow in humility and obedience to Him so that we can serve Him by serving his people.
As Jesus said elsewhere, “He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11) And this is not the way of the world. In the world a person rises through an organisation to achieve a position of power. But in Christ it is the reverse. They do not rise but in humility become servants to serve those who the Lord calls.
That is why the Lord did not exalt himself and “show himself to the world” as his brothers suggested. It is a clear act of his humility and his desire to serve the Father that kept Him firmly planted and steady in His purpose so that we too could come to the Father through Jesus Christ.
So what do you think? Do you think church people generally act in this way or do you think they are serving themselves?
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Gabriel Robledo)