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God’s Presence & Exemplary Servants

Scripture Readings: Joshua 3:7-17 & Matthew 23:1-12

Today’s text highlights the significance of the Ark of the Covenant leading the way, symbolizing God’s presence, and guidance in our lives. Following the Ark means crossing the Jordan of God’s Word here. They are not just walking in the river, but also in God’s words. It emphasizes that God is the ultimate leader, and we must follow Him.

In Joshua 3, the ark becomes the centrepiece of the crossing of the Jordan River, and God’s plan unfolds one step at a time. Joshua tells us that our lives and battles are all a part of God’s work and God’s leadership. God goes or does before us and waits in the middle of the river until everyone crosses it. Some people walk in front, and others are at the back. The order or speed is different, but the Ark did not move until the last cross safely. God leads us all and cares for every single person until the very end. God is the ultimate carer, and we must follow Him.

Joshua 3 shows the faith and trust exhibited by Joshua and the Israelites as they stepped into the overflowing Jordan River. At this time God elevated the credibility and status of Joshua in preparation for the task ahead. They Step into the unknown in accordance with God’s words. It illustrates that sometimes God calls us to step into the unknown, face challenges, and trust in His provision. May we have faith and courage in God’s promises when we encounter our “Jordan River” moments.

In this passage, the people had to wait until the right moment to cross the river. This story focuses on the importance of God’s timing. Whenever we experience divine timing allowed and designed by God, may we be patient and wait for God’s perfect timing in our own lives. There was also God’s miraculous power in the middle of Jordan River. Today’s text invites us that God can do the impossible when we follow His lead. God’s power is at work in our lives.

In Matthew 23, the scribes and Pharisees misuse their authority and even use God’s word for personal convenience or gain. They behave in ways that are counter to the truth they know and teach. They speak of glorifying God, but they sit on Moses’ seat and find the best places. As the scribes and Pharisees sought positions of honour, Jesus said, “do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.” Jesus called upon his disciples to become servants toward each other. Jesus invites us to be humble servants.

They were religious leaders and introduced burdens of obedience that were impossible for people to carry and mercilessly held people to burdens. The hypocrites put no effort to aid their followers in pleasing God, because their leadership was based on a prideful, status-seeking ministry. They constantly advertised their spirituality and status and did their good deeds for applause. They even fooled themselves into believing they were righteous. Hypocrisy is interested in elevating self and affects us as well as the well-being of others. However, may we strive to please God together instead of seeking the approval of people and carefully read and listen to God’s Word and obey it. 

Jusus invites us to be exemplary servants in the world of hypocrisy. Today’s text emphasizes the importance of living out one’s faith genuinely and not for the sake of appearances. It leads us to give glory to God rather than seeking personal recognition. It also challenges us to examine our own lives and ensure that our faith is sincere. May we redirect our focus towards God’s glory and kingdom if we are not in the right places.

In Matthew 23, the greatest is the person who serves others. Humble servants have true self-respect, but the hypocrites display their lack of self-esteem by demanding respect from others, seeking to be served and noticed. All leadership is to be servant hearted.

Jesus teaches us the greatest in God’s kingdom is the servant of all. God’s blessings and rewards associated with humility and servanthood, both in this life and in the kingdom of God. May we aspire to greatness through acts of service and these blessings through humble service.

Not everyone has the same gifts or fulfills the same role in the community, but all are God’s children. Everyone has a role to play and gifts to contribute to God’s kingdom. Our ultimate example of humility and servanthood is Jesus Christ. May we follow in His footsteps and imitate His love and compassion.

Jesus calls to his disciples to look toward God as the Father and the Messiah as the Lord. The good news in this remarkable encounter is that we are invited to know the God who knows us and loves us. We are called by Jesus to be brothers and sisters who have the Lord as their Saviour and master. We are set free by Jesus from the desire to have power over others. We are set free from that bondage of self-power and self-preoccupation by Jesus’ words that turn our eyes toward the Lord.

As Jesus calls us to be humble servants, He speaks as one who knows that he is on the way to the cross with the greatest burden. And He bears the burden willingly in order that all those who are tired and heavy laden might come to him and find rest and find themselves set free to be transformed in the love of Christ.

God will lead us all through Jesus into the promised land of life and love and mercy to the glory of God. May we step into the promised land of God’s promises as exemplary believers and disciples with servant leadership even in a world of hypocrisy. In God’s kingdom, the person who serves is the most highly esteemed. May we wait for God’s timing and his way under God’s presence and ask that God’s word may take root in our hearts and bear much fruit.

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)