Daily Readings & Thought for February 14th. “WHOEVER WOULD BE GREAT”
What a mixture of fascinating readings we have today! We recall how the 12 tribes in escaping from Egypt, first asked many things from the Egyptians, (Exod. 3 v.22)”…you shall plunder the Egyptians.” It was from these things that they could provide all that was needed to make the golden ark, lampstands, etc. We read today that from “everyone whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution … gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and …” [25 v.2-4] Our God desires our freewill service of heart, may our hearts be moved in this way.
The 72 verses of our Psalm 78 is teaching “a parable” [v.1,2] about the wonders of God’s actions in delivering them from Egypt, to “tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD” [v.4] Yet we know that the generation that experienced the miraculous escape from Egypt failed to serve God acceptably; they did not develop genuine faith and died in the wilderness: a lesson for us.
Our N. T. reading shows the primary weakness of human nature. In Mark’s gospel we read how two of Jesus’ disciples. “said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.'” [10 v.37] Jesus told them that “those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you.” [v.42,43]
Our news constantly contains accounts of conflicts between those seeking to exercise authority, seeking the ‘top’ job, especially in politics: there is particular aggressiveness in election campaigns. But Jesus told his disciples (and us) “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”[v.43-45]
In the future, those who have truly followed the example of Jesus, will be made “great” in whatever way the Master decides. We looked back at v.29-31 and the teaching of Jesus that “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters …. who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time…” also “houses and brothers and sisters (in Christ – now) … with persecutions” (and we think of those today in countries such as Iran) – all such will receive “in the age to come eternal life.” Let us seek the ‘slavery’ of service to our Lord now, with its blessings of a spiritual family – anticipating in faith, when the angels are sent forth, we will be dramatically delivered from the ‘Egypt’ that surrounds us today.