• Lisette Verri

How Lowly are You Willing to Go?

For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. ~Luke 22:27

When Jesus traveled from town to town teaching and ministering to people, He would meet them where they were, both geographically and spiritually, and fellowshipped with them. He would enter into the towns and homes of people who were godless and living sinful lives, sit, dine with them, and teach them about God and the kingdom. The godless did not come to Him, He went to them. And, He met them on their turf, in their present condition, and opened their eyes to a path to God and a way of life that they never knew existed.

Try to grasp this concept from the cultural context of the time period for which this was taking place. Jesus was considered a Rabbi, a teacher, and a holy man. Rabbis were esteemed men of high regard. It was not customary to dine with sinners and the godless, which were living lawless, wicked lives. If a Pharisee, a Rabbi, or any Jewish leader was seen dining or congregating with the fringe misfits of society, this was a tarnish on their clean and pious "image" that they strove to maintain. It was “beneath” them to associate with sinners. Jesus loathed the behavior of these men and did not hesitate to let them know.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” ~Matthew 23:27-28

Dead men's bones and everything unclean? Whoa. Jesus was keeping it real with these guys who were probably the sickest of them all and completely unwilling to change a single thing in themselves. Because... "image and stature." Jesus positioned Himself in the midst of the ones who needed Him the most; the lost, the ones living in sin and wickedness, who without a spiritual change, were destined for hell.

Then drew near unto him all the publicans (tax collectors) and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. ~Luke 15:1-2

Jesus was willing to sit and talk with people that the pious, religious and legalistic would not. Consider Matthew, the tax collector turned apostle! Tax collectors in those days were the lowest of the low, the men who lived degraded, immoral lives while their vocation was to extort huge chunks of money from the struggling and impoverished working class and hand it over to their Roman, pagan oppressors. They were sleazy scumbags with no moral compass, full of greed and fully motivated by selfish gain.

But the Pharisees and their scribes complained to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” ~Luke 5:30-32

How many of you are willing to sit on a level playing field with a homeless person, or a junky, or a prostitute and share the gospel? How many of you are willing to visit a prison and minister to a felon, not from a place of piety and superiority, but as a fellow sinner who also needs Jesus, and share how He brought you out of the pit? How many feet have you washed lately?

Many Christians who've been dramatically changed by Jesus, have been called into these types of ministries. These are Christians who came from the same or similar sinful lifestyles and were transformed into a new creature in Christ (1 Cor 5:17). And, in my humble opinion, it is a high calling of humility to share what God has so graciously given to you with the ones who are still lost.

Did Jesus participate or advocate the sinful behavior of these people? No.

Did Jesus approach them with a haughty, condemning attitude shaming them for what they were doing? No, He did not.

Did He preach hellfire and brimstone, frightening them into changing so they wouldn’t burn in Hell for all eternity? No, He surely did not.

He loved them. He loved them enough to meet them where they were, to sit with them, dine with them, breaking every cultural taboo in the process, and speak to their heart through parables that would change them in that instant, forever.

When Jesus pulled me out of the pit, He certainly did not approach me with condemnation, hellfire threats or shameful punishment. When I asked Jesus to help me, I had been completely lost in a life of sin, addiction, and wickedness. I was so wounded from the abuse I endured from my upbringing, I wouldn’t know love if it came up and poked me in the eye. I was totally lost with weeping, gaping wounds and an utterly broken heart.

Jesus came to me with complete and total acceptance. He drew me into His bosom and filled me with His perfect, agape love. I was not put to shame. I was immersed in His presence and loving embrace. It was instant, all-consuming, and inescapable.

I didn’t have to beg, I didn’t have to perform some pious act of holy worthiness. I didn’t have to pull myself together and do a bunch of stuff right first before I approached Him. I was a hot mess! There was no ability to pull it together in my own strength! In my desperation, and with complete surrender, I asked for Him with my whole heart. And there He was, in that instant.

It felt as if He descended toward me, arms outstretched, and scooped up my exhausted, worn, tattered, emaciated soul out of the pit. He pulled me into His intensely loving embrace, encompassing me completely. Tears gushed. Not from sadness or pain, but as if I were being completely washed clean from deep inside my whole being.

He knows when we are sincere and He does not hesitate to show up when we need Him.

Saints, there are two things that I’m sharing with you here. One, we need to remember that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. We cannot hide anything from Him. When we approach Him, we come to Him just as we are in that moment. We show up at the altar with our weaknesses, our shortcomings, our sins, and our struggles. We show up with our strengths and our abilities that He has already cultivated in us to further the kingdom. The bottom line is, we show up, exactly as we are, in this present moment, with a humble heart, knowing we need Jesus.

Two, there is not one of us that has been glorified and made complete. We are all sinners and we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). When we approach others, we are to come with love and acceptance in servanthood. This does not mean we accept or advocate sin nor do we condemn the sinner. But, instead, we use Jesus’ example when ministering to others.

As disciples of Jesus and servants to the kingdom, we take on a lowly position just as Jesus had.

For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. ~Luke 22:27

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. ~Philippians 2:5-7

Being a servant is a high calling of humility and obedience.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. ~John 13:3-5

This is not so we can boast that we are in a haughty position. This is the life of the Christian. The very word “Christian” means to be “Christ-like.” God honors and rewards our obedience.

If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. ~John 12:26

Knowing that Jesus, who is above all, who made Himself nothing, took on the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), and teaches us to model ourselves after Him, go and read the above verse again. Kind of takes on a new meaning, doesn’t it?

When you are approaching the Lord in your prayers, how lowly are you willing to go? Can you be your true self, in humility and brokenness? Can you bring your genuine self full of weaknesses and shortcomings, as well as strengths and gifts?

When you are approaching others, how lowly are you willing to go? Are you willing to make yourself a servant and wash some feet, proverbially speaking? Are you willing to place yourself on a level playing field with whomever you meet, knowing you are also a sinner who needs Jesus?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ~Matthew 25:40

Think about this as you move through your day. Observe your thoughts and actions as you interact with people. Curb your judgements and pass them through the biblical lens using Jesus as your model and focus and see how your interactions with others change.

This might not be a new word for you today, but maybe it is a "now" word. Share this with those who might need this friendly reminder.

Let's keep the conversation going. If you have prayer requests, comments, questions or would like more information, drop us an email and let us know. We would be honored to hear from you and to pray for your needs. SaltRadioMinistries@gmail.com

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