Luke 22:24

Three things claim our attention.

I. APOSTOLIC FAILURE. When the apostles of our Lord came to look back on this most memorable evening, how pained and how ashamed they must have felt as they recollected this unseemly contest (ver. 24)! At the very hour when their Lord was manifesting his love and his forethought for his Church in two most striking and touching ways - at the very hour when his heart was torn with distracting sorrow by the desertion and treachery of one of his chosen band, and when he might well have been looking for some consolation in the attachment and the obedience of the others, they must needs show their unlikeness to himself and their unworthiness of their position by an untimely dispute about their own importance in connection with that condescending service of their Lord's, how small such a controversy seems! And in connection with such a trial as that through which he was passing, how unbecoming and ill-timed was any anxiety about their own affairs! It was in their power to render to Jesus Christ a most helpful sympathy, and, instead of doing that, they grieved him by the exhibition of a contentious and an ambitious spirit. It was a sad failure on their part. How often do his disciples fail him now! How often do they let the opportunity of loving and effective service pass unused! When the hour strikes for faithfulness, or for courage, or for self-sacrifice, or for humility, or for energetic action, is there not found unfaithfulness, or timidity, or selfish time-serving, or pride, or a culpable inactivity, that loses everything and leaves behind nothing but failure and regret?

II. WORLDLY VANITY. (Ver. 25.) What a poor thing indeed is mere official dignity, or even arbitrary power, or servile flattery! Official dignity without moral worth is a miserably hollow thing. Arbitrary power, exercised in caprice and apart from a pure desire to do good and to enrich, is an evil thing; it is injurious to the possessor and it is burdensome to the objects of it. Servile flattery is a false thing. It is simply contemptible on the part of those who pay it; it is morally ruinous to those who accept it. Let the "Gentiles" act thus if they must; but "ye shall not be so." Ye who care to be true, to be loving, to be humble - ye shall not sit on that seat of honor, ye shall not run into that serious temptation, ye shall not pursue such a worthless prize. Other and better things are within your reach; for you there is -


1. Jesus Christ, the greatest One, was the Servant of all. He came to serve; it was his holy, heavenly errand; he came to seek and to save the lost. He lived to serve. That act of menial service in which he had just been engaged (John 13:1-5) was only a picture and illustration of the whole spirit and substance of his life; to bear the burden of others was the law of his life (Galatians 6:2). He lived to heal, to help, to comfort, to enlighten, to redeem; his life from end to end was a loving ministry, a gracious and generous service (Mark 10:45). He suffered to serve. He died to serve. He had a perfect right to say,, I am among you as he that serveth."

2. We are nearest to our Lord as we live to serve; we rise towards the spiritual stature of Jesus Christ as we are filled with this his spirit and as we live this his life. There is a path for ambition to tread in the kingdom of Christ; but it is not the path that leads to high office and official dignity and popular applause: these things may come unsought, and be used for good. But the one road along which true Christian greatness travels is the way of self-forgetting service. To be touched and moved by the sorrows and the sins of our fellow-men; to be stirred to helpful, earnest, sacrificial effort on their behalf; to pity the poor and needy; to seek and to save the lost; to breathe the air and to do the work of an unpretentious but effective kindness, to have the right to say, "I am among you as he that serveth; "that is greatness after Christ himself. - C.

He that is greatest among you let him be as the younger.

1. It is taken for granted that the principle exists universally.

2. It is admitted that the desire is an inherent principle.

3. It is therefore a holy and righteous principle.

4. It is a necessary principle.


1. The cause of the disciple's failure. This strife arose in the absence of the Saviour

2. The spirit of their failure. "Accounted." Carnal, external, worldly ambition.

3. The manifestation of their failure.


1. Adherence to Christ brings us into contact with the greatest trials.

2. All true disciples cleave to Christ, even in His trials.

3. Christ will honourably acknowledge and reward fidelity in His disciples.

(1)It is honour as reward for humble service.

(2)It is distinguished honour.

(3)It will be satisfying honour.

(T. M. Evans.)


1. Out of ignorance as to the nature of the kingdom of Christ.

2. Out of the worldly ambition of their own hearts.

II. THE LORD REBUKED THIS SPIRIT OF WORLDLY AMBITION. By drawing their attention to His own example. Application:

1. Show the widespread prevalence of this worldly ambition in the Church.

2. Urge lowliness of mind.

(1)By the strong commendation Christ bestows on it.

(2)By the injury done to the cause of Christ, when His followers manifest the opposite spirit.

(F. F. Goe, M. A.)

1. Beware of a proudly aspiring and envious spirit. Seek not to rise on the ruins of others, or by trampling on others.

2. Remember wherein true greatness consists, and follow after it. It consists in high attainments in piety and usefulness.

3. Whatever your attainments may be, be humble, if you would be great.

4. Let the disciples of Christ continue with Him, notwithstanding every trial.

(James Foote, M. A.)

I. The narrative we are considering discloses what effect SELF-SEEKING HAD on the disciples.

1. It blinded their eyes to the glory of the Son of God. They saw, indeed, His mighty works, and longed to be able to do such works themselves; but the hidden life of righteousness and peace and love they did not see and were not yet capable of seeing. Darkness cannot comprehend the light. Men seeking conspicuous places cannot understand the mind which was in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no reputation, humbled Himself, and became obedient even to the death of the cross.

2. The self-seeking spirit plunged the disciples into a quarrel on the eve of a great occasion.

3. The self-seeking spirit put the disciples into a false attitude of presumption, undertaking more than they were able to do. "Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask."

4. The spirit of self-seeking confused their notions of dominion. They had adopted the maxims of the Gentiles, and were in danger of believing that a man was great simply because he exercised authority.


1. The courage of self-sacrifice. It shrinks back from no danger, fears no hardship, and is superior to all suffering. He took the twelve disciples apart and said unto them: "We go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man shall be betrayed, condemned, and crucified." Knowing all things that should be accomplished, He went forward; He went forward that they might be accomplished.

2. The universality of self-sacrifice. Because this is the way of the Son of Man, therefore it must become the way of every man. Each man is to take up his cross. Each man is to become like the man.

3. The reward of self-sacrifice. Spiritual promotion comes according to just and immutable law.

4. The kingdom of self-sacrifice. They would reverse the maxims of the Gentiles, and reckon the servant greater than the Master.(Edward. B. Mason.)

Dr. Muhlenburg gave a beautiful illustration of obedience to his Master when he once took up a tray of dishes in St. Luke's hospital and carried them down to the kitchen. Some one meeting him, and protesting against his doing such menial work, he quickly said, "What am I, but a waiter in the Lord's hotel?"

The desire for distinction is one of the radical principles of our nature; never so crucified and buried but that, in unexpected ways and moments, it may revive, and rise again in power. In the world we find it, and in the Church. Charles V. could lay off the imperial purple, but could not so easily dispossess himself of the imperial will. Simon Stylites, on his pillar in the Lybian desert, was as willing to draw crowds out after him as any most lordly Bishop of Alexandria. The decrepit anchorite, in spite of his austerities, was still a man; his stomach hungry for bread, his heart hungry for applause. This subtle passion is strongest in the middle and more athletic period of life. It comes in between the love of pleasure, which besets our youth, and the love of gain, which besets our age. Though liable to desperate abuse, this passion, like every other, was benevolently given. If it causes wars, and builds up oppressive institutions, poisoning the hearts and cursing the lives of men, it is likewise one of the sharpest spurs to honourable toil, inspires the grandest achievements, and strikes its deepest roots into the deepest natures. It is, then, not to be fought against, as an enemy to virtue, but drawn into service rather, as an ally.

I. TRUE GREATNESS IS NOT INDICATED EITHER BY A CONSPICUOUS POSITION, OR THE BUZZ OF POPULAR APPLAUSE. Exalted stations add nothing to human stature. A great reputation may chance to balloon a very little man.

II. TRUE GREATNESS IS NOT INDICATED INFALLIBLY EVEN BY THE PRESENCE OF GREAT ABILITIES, OR GREAT ACQUISITIONS. Hero-worship is a perpetual fact in history. Mankind are sadly prone to be fascinated by mere ability, or what is so esteemed, irrespective of its exercise; by mere learning, irrespective of its aims and uses. We encounter this idolatry in every walk of life. Much lamentation is poured out over what is called dormant power — Cromwells that lead no armies, Newtons that write no "Principia," Miltons that build no lofty rhymes. Men are named in every circle, of whom it is remarked that they are possessed of great abilities, if they would only exercise them; or possessed of great learning, if they would only use it. No doubt there is such a thing as having one's talent, a real talent, laid up in a napkin. But there is probably much less of waste in this way than is commonly supposed. There is a meaning, perhaps, in that feature of the Gospel parable, which represents the idle talent as being a solitary and single one; a talent in some one direction, as that of a mere chemist, mathematician, linguist, or logician. Ability of this sort, thus partial, limited, and narrow, may doubtless be content to slumber, or exercise itself only in trifling. But true greatness cannot justly be predicated of any such ability. Real power has fulness and variety. It is not narrow like lightning, but broad like light. The man who truly and worthily excels in any one line of endeavour, might also, under a change of circumstances, have excelled in some other line. He who eight times led conquering legions into Gaul, could also write matchless commentaries describing their exploits. He who fought at Marengo and Austerlitz, could also build Alpine roads and construct the Code Napoleon. He who sang "Paradise Lost," could also pen ablest state papers.

III. THE IDEAL AND MEASURE OF GREATNESS, AS SET BEFORE US BY CHRIST HIMSELF, CONSISTS IN USEFULNESS. He who does the greatest amount of good in this world is the greatest man. This is the Christian sentiment. It is also at bottom the universal sentiment. The Titans of ancient fable, who piled mountains together, and stormed the heavens, were not great, only huge. Hercules was great by virtue of the twelve great labours which he performed. Grecian art, faultless as it was, failed of being great by being sensual. Hindoo generals are not great leaders, for, though they wield vast masses of men, they wield them to little or no purpose. He is not great, who merely wastes the nations; only he is great who saves and serves them. This rule, which the historic judgment of the world thus proceeds upon, is more an instinct than a principle. Christianity lays it down with emphasis as the highest law. According to this law, he only is great of heart who floods the world with a great affection. He only is great of mind who stirs the world with great thoughts. He only is great of will who does something to shape the world to a great career. And he is greatest who does the most of all these things, and does them best. As to the particular sphere in which a man shall lay out the labour of his life, this must b.e determined by a wise regard to individual tastes, talents, and circumstances. Each must choose for himself the employment and sphere best suited to his gifts. But all must choose with one heart, one purpose, in the fear of God, and under the light of eternal realities.


1. It is the key to happiness. God is infinitely happy in His boundless beneficence. Christ was happy in giving Himself up a sacrifice for the world. In all ages, the happiest of men have been the busiest and most beneficent.

2. It enhances power; relative power and actual power. He who works for God and man, with the least of solicitude about himself, has all the forces of Providence working with him. All these forces are powerful, so is he; and their triumph is his triumph. Moreover, the benevolent affections are the best stimulants of the intellect, the best allies and energizers of the will. Henry Martyn was twice the man for going to Persia that he would have been had he remained in England; and consequently has twice the fame. It is by dying that we live. It is only the good and the self-denying who rule us from their urns.

3. It is noble. Selfishness is pitiful and paltry.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

He that serveth
We find in these words a double reference — first, to the character, and secondly, to the office, of the Son of Man; to His character as the lowly one, to His office as the servant. For the purpose of bringing both these things before His disciples, He makes use of those marvellous words, "I am among you as the Serving One." Consider three things in reference to this service.

I. ITS HISTORY. It is not with His birth in Bethlehem that Christ's service begins. His visit to our first father in paradise was its true commencement. After that we find Him, age after age, visiting the children of men, and always in the character of one ministering to their wants. At His ascension He only entered on a new department of service; and as the Advocate with the Father, the Intercessor, the Forerunner, we see Him still serving. Nor, when He comes again in strength and majesty, as King of kings and Lord of lords, does He lose sight of His character as the Ministering One (Luke 12:37).

II. LET US CONSIDER THE NATURE OF THIS SERVICE. It is in all respects like Himself — like Him who, though He was rich, for our sakes became poor.

1. It is willing service. His varied rounds of service are no heavy task. He is the willing servant of the needy.

2. It is a loving service. Out of no fountain save that of love could such amazing, such endless acts of service flow. The loving and the serving are inseparable.

3. It is self-denying service. To continue ministering, day after day, in the midst of reproach, and opposition, and rejection, was self-denial and devotedness such as man can hardly either credit or conceive.

4. It is patient, unwearied service. He has compassion on the ignorant, and on them that arc out of the way. He breaks not the bruised reed; He quenches not the smoking flax. By day or by night we find Him ever girt for service.

5. It is free service. It cannot be bought, for what gold could purchase it? Neither does it need to be bought, for it is freely rendered.

III. ITS ENDS AND OBJECTS. It is to sinners that this service is rendered; and there is much in this to exhibit the ends which it has in view. This gracious servant of the needy is willing to be employed by any one, no matter who, let him be the poorest, and the sickliest, and the feeblest of all who ever sought a helper, a protector, or a guide, on their way to the kingdom.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Let us ask ourselves why our Lord has done so much for mankind in proposing a life of service as the true life of man. Service, I apprehend, is thus necessary in some shape for all of us, because it involves the constant repression of those features of our nature which constantly tend to drag it down and degrade it. Aristotle remarked, more than two thousand years ago, that all our faulty tendencies range themselves under the two heads of temper and desire — bad temper or ill-regulated desire. When the one element is not predominant in an undisciplined character, you will find, in some shape, the other, and sometimes you will find the one and sometimes the other at different periods in the life of the same man. Now, service — that is, the voluntary undertaking of work in obedience to the Higher Will — is a corrective to each of these tendencies.

1. It is a corrective, first of all, of temper in its ordinary and everyday form of self-assertion or pride. The man who serves from his heart cannot indulge in self-assertion; he represses self if he tries to perform his service well. Each effort, each five minutes, of conscientious service has the effect of keeping self down, of bidding it submit to a higher and more righteous will; and this process steadily persevered in ultimately represses it, if not altogether, yet very considerably. And what a substantial service this is to human nature and to human character. Be sure of this, that self-assertion, if unchecked, is pitiless when any obstacle to its gratification comes in its way. The self-asserting man delights in making an equal or an inferior feel the full weight of his petty importance; he enjoys the pleasure of commanding in the exact ratio of the pain or discomfort which he sees to be the cost of obedience; and thus, sooner or later, selfassertion becomes tyranny, and tyranny, sooner rather than later, means some revolt which carries with it the ruin of order. The tyrant in the State, in the family, in the office, in the workshop, is the man bent on the assertion of self; and, despite the moments of passing gratification which he enjoys, such a tyrant is really more miserable than his subjects, for the governing appetite of his character can never be adequately gratified; it is in conflict with the nature of things, it is in conflict with the laws of social life, it is in conflict with the Divine will; and when it is repressed, curbed, crushed by voluntary work in obedience to a higher will, a benefit of the very first order has been conferred on human nature and on human society.

2. And in like manner work voluntarily undertaken in obedience to a higher will corrects ill-regulated desire. Distinct from gross sin is the slothful, easy, enervated, self-pleasing temper which is the soil in which gross sin grows. The New Testament calls this district of human nature concupiscence — that is to say, misdirected desire — desire which was meant to cleave to God — at least, to centre in God the eternal beauty, but which, through some bad warp, does, in fact, attach itself to created objects, and generally to some object attractive to the senses. This evil can only be radically cured by making God the object of desire — that is to say, by a love of God; and a true love of God will express itself in service — the service of man as well as of God (1 John 4:20). Service keeps this ill-regulated desire at bay, and it centres the soul's higher desire or love more and more perfectly on its one legitimate object. And then, incidentally, it braces character, and this is what is wanted if a man is to escape from the enervation of a life of sensuous and effeminate ease.

(Canon Liddon.)

Helpfulness is the highest, quality of the human life. Service is the crowning glory of man. The serving type is the noblest type of all the manifold varieties of human development. The principle of the text is not to the effect that service is one and the same with, or altogether made up of, what we know as the activities of life. "And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing." That it is not always what we call the most active life which is the most useful. Activity is not all of service. There is the moral power static, as well as the moral power dynamic. Again, let us note that service does not discard the element of beauty or the splendour of intellectual gifts. Beauty, rightly so named, binds up ever within it a factor of highest value. A beautiful picture is nothing less than a moral force in the world. The Madonna face, the Madonna form, through the centuries rebuke coarseness, teach purity, uplift human thoughts, refine human souls. So with flowers. Their beauty has a moral value. The window-sill which lifts them up is twice blessed. It blesses him who plants and him who passes. The law of service, as proclaimed by highest authority, refuses her not beauty as an ally. All that is meant is that, when Beauty stands by herself, divorced from Service, hen the latter is higher, nobler. So also of the splendour of mental gifts. This splendour also may rest upon, may add a new beauty and a new power to that which is the highest type of human life. But when it stands off by itself, when it offers itself as a substitute for or a rival of service, then to the latter must be given the pre-eminence. Measured by the true standard of human greatness, the inventor of the Calculus is less of a man than the founder of London's ragged schools. It is better and it is nobler to help one poor, vicious human life into a pure and happy immortality than it is to weigh the sun or to write equations for the planets. The same must also be said when high station is brought into comparison with helpfulness. But let us turn to the direct consideration of the great canon of human worthiness.

I. HELPFULNESS IS MORE LIKE, IN MORE PERFECT HARMONY WITH, THE DIVINE BEAUTY, WITH THAT DIVINE BEAUTY WHICH HAS ITS EVENER APOCALYPSE UPON NATURE'S FIELD AND IN THE HUMAN SOUL. Even upon His material works has God stamped the law of sympathetic service. Read this written out in the clouds of the sky. These are the great water-carriers of the world. And how diligently, how joyously, they carry on their labour of love t The huge masses skip and whirl and chase each other like lambs at play; but, however weary, they never think of laying down the burden which they bear. And the mountains, too, are in service. Look upon the Andes, vertibral ridge of a continent. They are a giant hand raised to catch and redistribute the moisture of the trade-winds from the Atlantic, thus sending it back across the plains in healthful and life-giving streams. And water, too, serves. By one of its lines cold is carried southward, and by another heat is carried northward, thus diminishing the inequalities of temperature and making the earth a pleasant residence for man. So is it through every department. Nature is an organism. Not a drop of water leads a selfish life, not a wind-blast is without its mission. And let that human life which dares to lift heavenward the formal profession as the fulfilment of the Divine demand — let such a one take his rebuke from ocean's lips! Let him hear it sounding in the winds of heaven! Let him hear it thundered forth by the everlasting mountains. Human lives are not wanted in this world for ornament. God has prettier things for this purpose. And such a life, I say, is in full harmony with the Divine. For a long time the world and man knew not God. In this ignorance and blindness we can well imagine men asking the question, "What is God?" To whom is He like? Is He the Zeus of the celestial world, full of vindictiveness and passion? Is He the Oriental monarch, luxuriously lounging in the palace room of the universe? And while men so questioned, the door of heaven opened, and a Divine one in visible form walked forth before the eyes of men. And this form, what was it? "That of a servant." He bore men's burdens. He healed men's sicknesses. He comforted human sorrows. He went about doing good. He gave His life a ransom for many. And now that the Divine Spirit is in the world the manifestation is the same. He, too, cowries in service. He is the Advocate, the Comforter, His the soft hand which wipes away the falling tear and binds up the broken heart. Such is the Divine, such is Deity.

II. But, in the second place, OF ALL MORAL FORCES, HELPFULNESS IS THE MOST POTENT IN THE EDIFICATION OF INDIVIDUAL CHARACTER. There is nothing which grounds a man in truth and righteousness so firmly, there is nothing which lifts him up so surely, as the doing of good to others. This, indeed, is only the highest illustration of a law wide as the realm of human life. The bird which sings for others gladdens its own heart with its song. The brook which flows with music for listening ears grows more clear and limpid as it flows. Old ocean's mighty tides and racing gulf streams, which ever serve the need of man, paint the great deep with its spotless blue, and bring safety and life to all the mighty host which march and counter-march within its hollow bed. In doing good, everything in God's universe gets good. Service of others is highest service of self, and the best way for any man to grow in grace is to move forward into service.

III. But, again, HELPFULNESS IS MORE LASTING, MORE IMMORTAL, THAN ANYTHING ELSE OF HUMAN LIFE. "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. But charity never faileth." Bad as is this world, it is good enough to transmute and to hold immortality within it. The beauty of the beneficent deed, the widow's two mites, the alabaster box of ointment, Sir Philip Sidney's cup of cold water; the passing shadow of Florence Nightingale, which the dying soldier strove to kiss; above all, the patient and gentle self-denial of the Christ life — these are pictures which this world — God's world, after all — will not let fade. The suns of centuries rise and set upon them. Consider what this canon of human worthiness calls for of those who would receive honour under it.

1. This, first of all: personal goodness. In this world of ours the tares grow together with the wheat. Service of man calls for a servant first of all; and this can no one of us be who is not disinterestedly in love with his kind, and true and pure in all his works. To do good works which shall endure we ourselves must be good.

2. In the second place, the canon of the text demands that we should be willing to help when help is required.

3. The law of the higher type also makes this a duty. We should seek opportunities for doing good. The glory of the patriarch of Uz was written in these words, "The cause that I knew not I searched out."

4. The principle of the text teaches also the obligation of self-training. If we do not know how to help now, why, then, we should learn. If we are unfit for service now, we must make ourselves fit. Congenital infirmities may be corrected. The inertia of selfish idleness and of grasping covetousness may be overcome by him who, upon his knees, opens his heart to the entrance of the Divine Spirit. The enthusiasm of humanity may be caught from the example and inspiration of Jesus Christ. The mill-wheel will cease to revolve when the waters of the rushing stream are cut off; the moving train will stop when the glowing heat cools within the hidden chamber; and charity in this world will degenerate into a professional schedule without inspiration and without power when the name of Jesus is no longer writ by the hand of Faith upon its banner.

(S. S. Mitchell, D. D.)


1. In the world our Lord was not one of the cultured few on whom others wait. He was a working-man, and in spirit Servant of servants.

2. In the circle of His own disciples He was one that served.

3. In celebration of Holy Supper, He was specially among them "as He that serveth," for He washed His disciples' feet.

4. In the whole course of His life, Jesus on earth ever took the place of the servant or slave. His ear was bored by His entering into covenant. "Mine ears hast thou digged, or pierced (Psalm 40:6 (margin); Exodus 21:6). His office was announced at His coming, "Lo, I come to do thy will!" (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:5-9). His nature was fitted for service: He " took upon Him the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:7). He assumed the lowest place among men (Psalm 22:6; Isaiah 53:3). He cared for others, and not for Himself. "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve" (Mark 10:45). He laid aside His own will (John 4:34; John 6:38). He bore patiently all manner of hardness (1 Peter 2:23).

II. THE WONDER OF IT — that He should be a servant among His own servants. The marvel of it was rendered the greater —

1. As He was Lord of all by nature and essence (Colossians 1:15-19).

2. As He was superior in wisdom, holiness, power, and in every other way, to the very best of them (Matthew 8:26, 27; John 14:9).

3. As He was so greatly their Benefactor (John 15:16).

4. As they were such poor creatures, and so unworthy to be served.

III. THE EXPLANATION OF IT. We must look for this to His own nature.

1. He is so infinitely great (Hebrews 1:2-4),

2. He is so immeasurably full of love (John 15:9; 1 John 3:16).


1. In cheerfully choosing to fulfil the most lowly offices.

2. In manifesting great lowliness of spirit and humility of bearing (Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5).

3. In laying ourselves out for the good of others. Let self: sacrifice be the rule of our existence (2 Corinthians 12:15).

4. In gladly bearing injustice rather than break the peace, avenge ourselves, or grieve others (1 Peter 2:19, 20; 1 Peter 3:14).

5. In selecting that place in which we receive least, and give most; choosing to wait at table rather than to sit at meat.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A true character can never be built on a false foundation; on the denial of a fact or on pretending not to see it. There are greater men and less; stronger and weaker; wiser and less wise; men fit to rule and men fit only to be led; some who can teach and others whose business it is to learn. The right relationship between to be reached, if at all, by a manly acknowledgment of the facts which divide them and the individual superiorities which set one above another. It is he who can rightly say, "Master and Lord am I"; who can also say with the fullest emphasis, "I am among you as the servant"!

I. Since, then, THE MORAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS VOLUNTARY SERVICE were those which gave it worth, let us try in a few words to disentangle these moral characteristics and understand them. They may be summed up, I think, in these two: in unselfish love as the root-virtue, and in lowliness of mind as the specific shape which love must take when it girds itself to serve.

II. Taking, then, these words of Jesus, "I am in the midst of you as your attendant," to be virtually DESCRIPTIVE OF HIS WHOLE POSITION ON EARTH and the spirit of His entire career, we find that His life may be described thus: it was a voluntary service of other men, rooted in pure love for them, and carried out with such lowliness of mind as deems no office degrading which can be lovingly rendered. Notice next, more expressly than we have yet done, that such lowly, loving service of others was not in His case an occasional effort or a mere ornament of character exhibited now and then. It formed the staple of His life. Christ came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister; not to enrich Himself, either with nobler or baser wealth, but to impoverish Himself that He might make many rich. With Him it is not, as with other men, "I will sit at table, and do you wait on Me"; but it is, "you sit at table, and I will wait."

III. But is this, after all, A MORE EXCELLENT WAY WHICH JESUS HAS SHOWN? Wherein is it more excellent? The King's Son came among us. We called Him our "Lord and Master," and we said well; but He was as one who served us! Now we know that the Father on high is like unto Him. The divinest part of His relationship to His creatures lies here, that being Lord of all He makes Himself the servant of all. How is He by day and night creation's unwearied watcher, provider, attendant, benefactor! The lions roar and He feedeth them. Not a sparrow falls but He heeds it. The lilies spin not, yet He clothes them. True, patient minister to each creature's need, in whose loving eyes nothing is too minute to be remembered nor too mean to be served; He is for ever with tender humble carefulness laying His might and His providence and His inventiveness and His tastefulness at the service of all creation. What! cries out the heart of the proud, is this your conception of the Eternal? Were not all things made for His glory, then? Yes, indeed, for His glory; but not in the ignoble sense we so often intend! Not made to be sacrificed to His pleasure. Not made for a boastful display of His omnipotence or skill; nor as mere trappings or attendants to lend dignity to His court. Away with such vain thoughts, borrowed from the barbaric and vulgar splendour of an Oriental despotism! Verily, the universe is the mirror of its Creator's glory; but it is so because it shows Him to be prodigal of His love, lavishing His care upon the least, stooping to adorn the poorest, and made then supremely glad when He can see His creatures glad. The glory of God; where is it? that He ministers to all! His blessedness; what is it? to make others blessed! I see, then, that when the Son came among us as a servant, it became Him as a son to do so, for it became the Father whose Son He was. It was a prolongation only, although a right marvellous one, of that character whose Divineness men had been slow to see, but which God the Maker had pencilled with light across His creation.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

Continued with Me in My temptations
We get here a wonderful glimpse into the heart of Christ, and a most pathetic revelation of His thoughts and experiences; all the more precious because it is quite incidental, and, we may say, unconscious.

I. THE TEMPTED CHRIST. "In My temptations" — so He summed up His life! The period to which He refers lies between the wilderness and the garden, and includes neither. His whole ministry was a field of continual and diversified temptations. No sham fight.

1. Let us think of the tempted Christ, that our conceptions of His sinlessness may be increased. His was no untried and cloistered virtue, pure because never brought into contact with seducing evil, but a militant and victorious goodness, that was able to withstand in the evil day.

2. Let us think of the tempted Christ, that our thankful thoughts of what He bore for us may be warmer and more adequate, as we stand afar off and look on at the mystery of His battle with our enemies and His.

3. Let us think of the tempted Christ, to make the lighter burden of our cross and our less terrible conflict easier to bear and to wage. So will He continue with us in our temptations, and patience and victory flow to us from Him.

II. THE LONELY CHRIST. The most solitary man that ever lived. His nearest kindred stood aloof from Him. Even in the small company of His friends, there were absolutely none who either understood Him or sympathized with Him. Talk of the solitude of pure character amid evil, like Lot in Sodom, or of the loneliness of uncomprehended aims or unshared thoughts — whoever experienced that as keenly as Christ did? The more pure and lofty a nature, the more keen its sensitiveness, the more exquisite its delights, and the sharper its pains. The more loving and unselfish a heart the more its longing for companionship; and the more its aching in loneliness. That lonely Christ sympathizes with all solitary hearts. If ever we feel ourselves misunderstood and thrown back upon ourselves; if ever our heart's burden of love is rejected; if our outward lives be lonely and earth yields nothing to stay our longing for companionship; if our hearts have been filled with dear ones and are now empty, or but filled with tears, let us think of Him and say, "Yet I am not alone." He lived alone, alone He died, that no heart might ever be solitary any more.

III. THE GRATEFUL CHRIST. His heart was gladdened by loving friends, and He recognized in their society a ministry of love. Where there is a loving heart there is acceptable service. It is possible that our poor, imperfect deeds shall be an odour of a sweet smell, acceptable, well-pleasing to Him. Which of us that is a father is not glad at his children's gifts, even though they be purchased with his own money, and be of little use? They mean love, so they are precious. And Christ, in like manner, accepts what we bring, even though it be chilled by selfishness, and faith broken by doubt, and submission crossed by self-will.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I appoint unto you a kingdom
There was once a young prince, heir to the throne of Russia, who was giving himself to every form of dissipation. He took up his residence in Paris, and entered heartily into all its gaieties. One evening, as he u as seated with a number of young profligates like himself, drinking, gambling, and making merry, a message was privately conveyed to him that his father was dead. Pushing away from him the dice and the wine-cup, he rose up and said, "I am emperor!" and forthwith announced that his must henceforth be a different kind of life. Young men, I have to tell you to-night of a kingdom to which you are called. To you the Lord Jesus says, "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me." To no meaner rank are you to aspire than to that of "kings and priests unto God." But when the day came that Saul was actually to be made king, the youth was "not to be found." He had hid himself among the stuff. Saul concealed amid the baggage, perhaps the commissariat for that large assembly of people; hidden, tall fellow as he was, amid the heap of boxes and baskets of all kinds — is he not a picture of many a young man whom God is calling to a kingdom, but who is chin-deep in business, so absorbed in worldly matters that he cannot attend to the affairs of his soul?

(J. T. Davidson, D. D.)

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