And you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. — Luke 12: 36–37
In accordance with the example of Christ, let us serve God and our neighbour.
Jesus emphasizes in this parable just how important it is that we are vigilant as we wait for His return. At the same time He gives us an indication of how He understands His mission: He will come and serve those who receive Him.
The Lord came into the world to serve the Father (Matthew 12: 18) and man (Matthew 20: 28) and to redeem man. He brings eternal life to those who open when He knocks, in other words, those who believe that He is the Son of God.
The service of Jesus
The service of Jesus incorporates
- Respect for human freedom of decision; He would never resort to violence or uttering threats;
- Tirelessly offering His word, His grace, and His help, regardless of whether human beings accept it or not;
- Always keeping an eye on the individual’s carrying capacity, only telling His disciples what they can understand (John 16: 12), and never giving us more to bear than we can carry (1 Corinthians 10: 13).
The service of the apostle
Jesus Christ has equipped the Apostle ministry with far-reaching powers, and it serves both God and mankind. The Apostles are completely dependent on their Sender, and can only give that which they have received from Him. They have been sent out by Jesus to offer mankind salvation and prepare them for His return. They can only fulfil their commission among those who believe in the Apostle ministry and in the return of Jesus Christ. Their service incorporates
- Not ruling over the believers, but imploring them to be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 1: 24; 5: 20);
- Granting word, grace, and sacrament to all longing souls.
- Serving as examples to those who want to put the gospel into practice (1 Corinthians 11: 1).
The service of the Chief Apostle
The Chief Apostle likewise stands in the service of God and mankind. He can only fulfil his commission among those who accept him as the one who exercises the office of Peter. The service of the Chief Apostle consists of
- Ensuring that the doctrine is in perfect agreement with the will of God and that it is taught in uniform manner within the Church;
- Further developing the teaching of the Church in accordance with the will of God, and creating the conditions required for all children of God to follow this ongoing development.
We are called to serve Christ and mankind both today and in the kingdom of peace. Our service is comprised of helping people recognize the love and power of Jesus Christ.
Each one of us serves the church. There may well be divergent opinions in our ranks, for example, with regard to music, homosexuality, or ecumenism, but to push our own will through would violate the commandment of brotherly love.
Let us strive for that which contributes to peace and mutual edification.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for divine service held on 18 September 2016 at Midrand Congregation.