Jesus Christ is the standard for serving

A long development, a tough old Adam… Chief Apostle Schneider is aware of the challenges that a life modelled on Jesus brings with it. Yet, he encourages us to constantly renew this resolve.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” This Bible text from Mark 10: 45 was selected by Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider as basis for the service he conducted on Sunday, 21 February 2021 in the congregation of Mulhouse in France.

An outrageous request?

James and John wanted to sit directly next to the Son of God in the kingdom of God: to His right and to His left. The other ten disciples were outraged by this request and even Jesus—after a friendly explanation—rejected their request: “…to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give” (Mark 10: 40). Jesus took the opportunity, called the disciples together, and instructed them on how to serve and lead. Serving, in this context, does not mean being subordinate, being in a hierarchical relationship, the Chief Apostle made clear. Rather, the term used refers to serving at the table. “It simply means doing something to contribute to the good, the well-being of others, to help them by giving them what they need.”

Jesus Christ is the model

The Chief Apostle explained that Jesus Christ appeared to bring salvation to mankind. Jesus Christ took care of people’s spiritual needs and still does so today.

  • Jesus triumphed over evil by sacrificing His life. “This is how He served: He contributed to our salvation by doing what no man could have done.”
  • Jesus revealed the true nature of God. He knew the need of people to know God and to be close to Him: “Jesus said, ‘I will show you what God is really like. God is a God of love. He is a God of grace. He is not way up there in the furthest reaches of heaven, He is right beside you. He listens to you, He hears you, He loves you, He helps you.”
  • Jesus did good without expecting anything in return: throughout His life and even on the cross. “He really did it to the extreme: I am not here to be served. I am here to serve, to contribute to your good, and to give you what you need.”
  • Jesus serves to this day: “Every time we come to Him He offers us forgiveness. When I think of how often the Lord has already forgiven me, it is impressive!”
  • Jesus will return. People cannot get to the kingdom of heaven on their own. And what does Jesus do, the Chief Apostle asked. “He will come to get us because we can’t get there on our own.”
  • Jesus brings salvation to all people. Even after the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus will continue to serve: “He will come back to earth. To do what? To bring salvation to all of mankind because He knows that not all have had access to the gospel, nor have all accepted it.”

Called to serve

Jesus’ reply to John and James, who had requested a special place at His side, also applies to us today. “As New Apostolic Christians we say that we are waiting for the return of the Lord and want to participate in the first resurrection; we want to enter the kingdom of God before the others, as firstfruits. We want to be first. For many Christians this is incomprehensible.”

The point is that this is not a competition or a privilege that falls to the winner: “Yes, we are waiting for the return of the Lord. We believe that He will come for His bride to bring her into His kingdom to be among the first to enter this kingdom. But why? To come back with Jesus, to be part of the royal priesthood, to help people, to contribute to their salvation in the thousand-year kingdom of peace.” This is the particular service that believers are called to perform.

Learning to serve

In order to be able to serve later, we must learn to serve today, Chief Apostle Schneider said. And this includes the following aspects:

  • helping our neighbour to discover God. This is not done by advertising Him with signs and slogans. “We profess Christ by living our faith, by living our lives according to God’s commandments, by talking about the blessings God has already given us, and by talking about our certainty regarding the future.”
  • being close to the suffering and supporting them. The destitute, foreigners, and the sick need more than material support. “They need to be listened to, they need to be respected, they need to be considered, they need to share their pain, they need affection, they need love.”
  • being there for one another. The faithful must also serve one another to contribute to peace and mutual edification. “If we always applied this filter in what is said, in what is done within the would be heaven.”
  • serving without blowing our own trumpet. Jesus said: “Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.” Crucial is the proper attitude: “I have come to serve, not to boast and expect everyone to say what a great guy I am. No, let us contribute to peace and mutual edification, not to talk about it.”

Jesus Christ calls upon us to follow Him. Chief Apostle Schneider pointed out: “Those who serve the Lord are not spared afflictions, tribulations, and trials. Even those who do a lot of good will still go through trials and experience tribulation.” But this will be followed by eternal fellowship: “Dear brothers and sisters, this is our future: to be in the wedding hall, at the table of the Lord.”

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Oliver Rütten
France, Chief Apostle, Divine service