The Hallmarks of Biblical Greatness by Pastor Paul Becker
May 7, 2023 ~ Matthew 20:17-28
Gold can be formed into objects of value and classified along a range of purity from 6K to 24K. Gold that is 6K is 25% pure gold which is bound to other metals. Gold that is 24K is 99.9% pure and is not bound to other metals. When you examine gold items, you may see they are “hallmarked.” Hallmarks are symbols that are stamped into the metal by appraisers to establish worth in the market. (Click here for a 1-minute video.)
As a measure of purity, how are you being made by the Spirit to become more like Jesus? Are you a 6K follower whose life is an alloy of 25% holiness and 75% sinfulness? Is your discipleship showing evidence of becoming more like Jesus and less of your sinful self? Are you becoming an 8K, 10K, 18K, or 22K follower of Jesus? If so, how would you know?
To grow in Christ-likeness is to grow in greatness in our Lord’s eyes. Jesus’ disciples desired greatness, and so should we, not on our terms but on our Lord’s. In our scripture lesson, Jesus offered three hallmarks of greatness in his kingdom:
Greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven is hallmarked by making ourselves the means of Jesus’ glory and not Jesus the means of our glory.
Greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven is hallmarked by self-sacrifice, not self-indulgence.
Greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven is hallmarked by being a servant, not being served.
The sermon will take you through a tour of how Jesus was the standard for these hallmarks of greatness. Journey through the social practices of Jesus’ time, the Garden of Gethsemane, the martyrdom of James and John, the natural inclination of Christians to jockey for positions of self-importance and point you to Jesus who gave his life to atone for the sins we should pay for, with our own lives.
You are encouraged to do the work of a disciple and listen to the regular reading and proclamation of God’s Word. This is the Way.