The Power of Service

Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve.

Jesus the Servant!

TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – WK I

Ant. 3 (Evening Prayer) “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us, therefore, approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:14-16 New Revised Standard Addition (NRSV)

Reflection – Perseverance, Prayer, and Endurance!

We can come to God unafraid knowing what he will do for us! 

Reflection Question: What does it mean to enter into God’s Rest?

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As human beings, we are undeniably weak in our faith and because of this, we are also lackadaisy with our prayer lives. These two attributes of the Christian life are connected in profound ways. Namely within our struggles with the lack of perseverance when tempted or ridiculed because of what we believe. Jesus himself talked about this weakness in Mark 4:14-17;


The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4 – Free Bible Imageshttp://www.bibleimages.ca

14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.” 

There are many stories told in every age of man where the faithful are tested and in some regard fails to pass the test of faith. One of the greatest stories on this topic is Saul of Tarsus who for many years ruthlessly tortured and persecuted Christians until his fateful run-in with Jesus in the desert as he was headed to Damascus, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” ~ Acts 9:4. Truly I say to you; all of use in some way deny the truth of Christ’s Death, we all try to impose our own plan much like Saul – perhaps with less violence but the malice is all the same.  Before Saul, there was King David who yes, did many good things but he had a history of making profoundly bad mistakes as well which included, murder (2 Samuel 11:17; 12:9), lying (2 Samuel 11: 7-8, 12-13), adultery (1 Samuel 11:4), coveting a neighbor’s wife (2 Samuel 11:3) and even stealing another man’s wife (2 Samuel 12:9). Before King David, we have the case of Moses one of two crowned princes of Egypt who at the age of 40 became incensed when he discovered an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Hebrew slave. So Mose murdered him in cold blood then buried him in the sand. ~ Exodus 2:11-12. Women have also been tested and have fallen such is the case with Tamar, who left her family to marry into the house of Judah. After some time and three brothers later who she had married in preceding order after each one of them had died all leaving her childless she dressed as a prostitute, then coerced her father-in-law, Judah, to have sex with her. She conceived twins one of which was the ancestor of King David—a direct lineage to Christ.~ Genesis 38:15-18.  The list goes on and on right up to this very day of our human weakness and lack of keeping Gods covenants. However, all of these famous people of the Old Testament found favor with God, they were redeemed, and so it is possible for all of use to also be redeemed in the eyes of God. We can enter into Gods rest by hearing, understanding, persevering, and by enacting the power of prayer. These things Jesus also commented on back in Mark 4:20;

The Seeds Parable

20 “But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Mark 4:20

The possibility of entering into Gods rest is founded upon the very idea that Jesus Christ, the Son of the One true Living God, who was also tested in many of the same ways we are daily and who without sin prevailed. “For since He Himself suffered while being tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrew 2:18)  Jesus did not blindly come to fulfill scripture but yet was willing from the very creation of all things. Jesus intently listened to His father faithfully, Jesus persevered against the temptations of sin daily, and Jesus prayed constantly. His overall message to humanity was one of service, doing for others such as advocating for the helpless, giving comfort to the sick and those in need. Jesus stood for the poor, the downtrodden, oppressed, those who face tyranny, and who are martyred for their faith. But Jesus was not the only person who was connected to God in such ways for there was another who foreshadowed Jesus; a priestly king named Melchizedek, (Genesis 14:17-20), then again appearing in a prophecy of Psalms 110:4“The Lord has sworn and will not change, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.'” For according to this
Melchizedek was truly a great priest and king, whose very name means, “King of Righteousness”, and then also being King of Salem which means, “King of Peace.” (Hebrews 7:2). This King like Jesus had no Father, no Mother, no earthly accounting of descent, but rather made like Jesus the son of God so that he and his order of priests who Jesus was the greatest shall forever remain a priest. (Hebrews 7:3) This revelation not widely preached basically states that Jesus is the High Priest in an order of Priests greater than that of the Order from Aaron who represented the earthly temple, but Melchizedek’s Order represents the Heavenly Order of Priesthood. In this way, we can come before a thrown that is not one of damnation, but rather one of grace, mercy, love, and peace. We come before a God who is a servant first, giving to us what we need. In accepting Christ as our personal savior then going on to lead a life of service; in this way, we show that the seeds Jesus sowed within us surely have been planted in rich soil and have become fruitful many times over. Again, in this way, we enter into God’s rest – His everlasting forgiveness clean of any sin and reborn in Christ’s likeness as a son or daughter of God. “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of temptation in the wilderness where your fathers tested Me and tried Me and saw My works for forty years.'” (Hebrews 3:7-9). I urge you all to think hard about the meaning of the words Jesus left us with as he ascended into heaven;

Jesus on His Throne

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

John 14:27

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LET US PRAY!

Praise of God’s Power and Providence

Psalm 33: 1-22

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

I

Rejoice, you righteous, in the Lord;
    praise from the upright is fitting.
Give thanks to the Lord on the harp;
    on the ten-stringed lyre offer praise.
Sing to him a new song;
    skillfully play with joyful chant.
For the Lord’s word is upright;
    all his works are trustworthy.
He loves justice and right.
    The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

II

By the Lord’s word the heavens were made;
    by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathered the waters of the sea as a mound;
    he sets the deep into storage vaults.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

III

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all who dwell in the world show him reverence.
For he spoke, and it came to be,
    commanded, and it stood in place.
10 The Lord foils the plan of nations,
    frustrates the designs of peoples.
11 But the plan of the Lord stands forever,
    the designs of his heart through all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people chosen as his inheritance.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

IV

13 From heaven the Lord looks down
    and observes the children of Adam,
14 From his dwelling place he surveys
    all who dwell on earth.
15 The One who fashioned together their hearts
    is the One who knows all their works.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

V

16 A king is not saved by a great army,
    nor a warrior delivered by great strength.
17 Useless is the horse for safety;
    despite its great strength, it cannot be saved.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him,
    upon those who count on his mercy,
19 To deliver their soul from death,
    and to keep them alive through famine.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

VI

20 Our soul waits for the Lord,
    he is our help and shield.
21 For in him our hearts rejoice;
    in his holy name we trust.
22 May your mercy, Lord, be upon us;
    as we put our hope in you.

Ant. “All power is yours, Lord God, our mighty King, Alleluia”

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May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us. ~ Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018