“Imago Dei”

Part Two

by Pastor Kent Munsey

June 2, 2019

A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. - Luke 22:24-27

Every human being has dignity, value, and worth because we are made in the image of God.

All of God is revealed in the image of Jesus. We are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Righteousness means we are in the right place, in right relationship with God where we are reflecting his character to the world. We understand our identity in Christ.

When you imagine your life, success and influence, what does it look like? In Luke 22:24-27, Jesus is giving us an image of what godly success, leadership and influence looks like. Jesus is reimagining what it means to be great in this life and in the life to come.

This conversation in Luke 22:24-27 is taking place at the last supper. Judas had become consumed with a spirit of self interest and that's what led to his betrayal of Jesus. The other disciples had the same spirit. Jesus addresses this spirit and the issues that lead to it with two instructions.  

1. Keep your heart pure. Jesus says, “if you want to be great in my kingdom, you've got to become like the younger.” When you put your faith in Christ, you start to find your identity in him and shine his light on the earth. Judas, however, had gotten to a place where the miracles and the opportunity to follow Jesus and serve in his ministry were not seen because of his heart issues.

The Bible says the heart is deceptive. What do you do when a lie becomes more attractive than the truth? Even though Jesus had entrusted Judas with the money for the ministry, he traded it for what the unrighteous had put in his hand.

How is your heart when it comes to being the image of Jesus in your world? Jesus says when it comes to representing the kingdom, we need to be like the young. The young have an innocence, a naïveté. We have to guard our hearts and stay in a place of purity and innocence; otherwise we'll get corrupted. When you become an image bearer of Jesus, it’s important to keep your heart right.

2. Serve what’s in your hand. While the disciples are striving, Jesus is serving. When you're striving, there's something that's not right in your heart, and there's something you're not seeing in your hand. Judas did not see the value of what Jesus had put in his hand. Jesus was washing the feet of his disciples while they were arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom.

Do you see what God has put in your hand? We get so caught up looking at what's in other people's hands that we don't see what God has put in our hand. Judas was empowered to steward the finances so that Jesus and the disciples could do the work of ministry, but he replaced it with a lie. Peter was given the authority to affirm Jesus’ identity, but he denied him because of fear and anxiety.

We look at what God gives us, and we can devalue it if our heart is not right. Our value is not what's in our hand; our value is who we are in God, and that's what allows us to steward what's in our hand.

Do you see yourself in the image of God? It cost God his only son to be able to be in relationship with you. God relates to you and connects with you, and that's where your value comes from. God wants us to reflect his image to the world.

The world has different images and values than God does. We have to cast down the arguments that set themselves up against Christ. We guard our hearts by facing God, relating to God and staying innocent and pure. When you face God, you're reminded that he gave you that thing in your hand.

Jesus said if you're going to be like me, you have to guard your heart and keep it pure, and you’ve got to serve. Every relationship is a gift, our job is a gift. We try to get the most out of those gifts, but God wants us to steward them. We must serve the gift in our hand with no expectations.

We're not meant to get something from what God puts in our hand; we get everything we need from God, and we serve what's in our hand. If I serve what's in my hand, he's going to give me more to serve. When you're serving, you're sowing. When you’re a benefactor, you're focused on reaping. God is responsible for the harvest. When your faithful with what God gives you, you will begin to shine like the stars.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. How is your heart, and how can you reconnect with the innocence Jesus talks about?

  2. Have you been faithful with what God has put in your hand?

  3. How do you define greatness? How does this message challenge or reinforce your vision and goals for the future?

  4. How can you realign with Jesus’ example to serve and steward what he puts in your hand?