Sermon Details

Jesus Rules

October 17, 2021
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, IN, invites you to join us as we worship in this time of SARS-CoV-2. Today's virtual service features Pastor John Van Nuys leading worship. Sermon Title, "Jesus Rules". Hymns performed by Jennie Swick, piano accompaniment by Alan White.
(35) James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus, saying: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” (36) Jesus replied, “What do you want me to do for you?” (37) They said, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” (38) But Jesus said, “You don’t know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (39) They replied, “We’re able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; (40) but to sit at my right hand or left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
(41) When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. (42) So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. (43) But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, (44) and whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all. (45) For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:35-45

Imagine you’re the head of the Purdue Alumni Association and you have two promising, Purdue graduates you’re mentoring. You’ve introduced them to Purdue’s President Mitch Daniels. You’ve taken them to football games at Ross-Ade Stadium and basketball games at Mackay Arena. You’ve introduced them to famous Purdue alumni like basketball star Rick Mount and Super Bowl 44’s winning quarterback Drew Brees. You’ve taught your understudies everything about how to bleed gold and black. Now, imagine them coming to you for a favor. “Sure,” you say; “what can I do for you?”

“Could get us an autograph from Bob Knight.”

That sinking “Are you kidding me?” feeling must’ve been how Jesus felt when James and John said: “When your Kingdom comes, Jesus, we want to be your wingmen, enthroned in power at your side.”

Jesus has spent three years teaching, modeling, and discipling them about the power of love, but James and John are still fixated on the love of power. As are we.

We all want what we want. And with our ego enthroned at the center of our lives, we want everything to revolve around us. As it should! After all, I am the captain of my ship. That’s what the world tells me. I am the master of our own fate. But the Bible reminds us that we have a different Master. Scripture says our ultimate fulfillment is not to be found by exalting the false trinity of me, myself, and I, but by offering ourselves to follow the humble way of a crucified Carpenter, who says: “Take up your cross and follow me. Love your enemies. Pray for those who abuse you. Give to anyone who begs from you. Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Tend the sick. Love everyone as I love you.” And you just can’t do that if all you’re doing is looking out for Number One.

If you’re “in it to win it,” then you’ve got some growing to do if you want to be with Jesus. If you really want to be first in what matters most, which is the Kingdom of God, then put yourself last. Serve your neighbors — especially those who are least, last, and lost. Give yourself away in love, then you’ll really win. Move from selfishness toward selflessness, and you’ll find a whole new way of living; one that is filled with generosity, humility, forgiveness, peace, and love.

We’re hearing a lot lately about ransomware. Ransomware is malware designed to encrypt files. Ransomware captures files and strangles systems so that your device won’t serve its original function. The malicious actors who have infected you then demand ransom in exchange for decryption. Pay up; then you’ll be free.

Jesus tells James and John, “Humbling myself to serve and save: That’s what I’m here for. The Son of Man, Humanity’s Child, isn’t here to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In other words, everything that’s wrong out there (pointing beyond the Sanctuary) and in here (pointing to my heart) is because we have some malicious code that has corrupted and captured us. Selfishness, anger, despair, greed, vengeance, prejudice — all that crud has fouled our hard drive. The way to be free of all that, says the Bible, is Jesus and his way of love. His saving code, fully revealed and released on the cross, ransoms, restores, and releases us so that we’re free/liberated/saved so we can function as originally intended by our Creator: To be fully alive in love with God, neighbors, and creation.

When you get Jesus’ saving code running on your hard drive; clearing out the other crud in our hearts, that’s when you’re really on track, alive, and becoming who God created you to be.

Martin Luther King famously said, “Anyone can be great because everyone can serve.” It’s true. When we stop praying for “MY kingdom come” and start living for “THY kingdom come,” then we’re in sync with our Savior and we are tapped into the best life of all.

That James and John impulse for power, privilege, prestige, and position? It’s always with us. But so, too, is the divine urging of the Holy Spirit who helps us get the Christ code, the Jesus rules, the saving software in our hearts, relationships, lives, communities, and world. That’s the wonderful, saving, glad life, which is now ours thanks to Jesus Christ, who makes the way plain and the future bright for us all.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!