In the sermon text today, Jesus warns against leaders who do not do as they say. They speak words of freedom and yet their actions are enslaving. They bind heavy burdens on their people rather than freeing them. One aspect of the meaning of this meal relates to all of this. At one point leading up to the Jerusalem, when His disciples wanted to be seated in positions of authority and glory, Jesus asked if they were able to drink the cup He was about to drink. They answered that they were, and Jesus said that they would even though it is clear that they did not exactly know what they were asking or agreeing to. And later when Jesus instituted this meal, he broke the bread first and then gave it to his disciples and likewise with the wine. The implication is that leaders go first. Thatís what it means to be a leader, to be the head. It means you get to die first. Jesus drank the cup first for all of us, and then he hands it to us. And that is why we can drink it. We can drink it because He drank it first. This cup is a cup of blessing, but it is also the cup of the cross. It is the cup of the joy of the cross. It is the cup of the life of God poured out for us. But this is why those who are serving you eat and drink first. We donít eat and drink first because weíre greedy or because we are impatient. We eat and drink first because God has called us to lead. God has called us to die first. And all of this is an answer to Jesusí warning about leaders who donít do what they say. This meal is training in humility. Jesus said that whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. And that is what this meal ought fundamentally to be. This meal is an opportunity to take up our cross first and in humility to serve our neighbors. To call one another to follow Jesus without doing it ourselves first is hypocrisy, but we are called to lead and to love by serving. He who is greatest shall be your servant. So humble yourselves now under the mighty hand of God, take the cross, the body and blood of Christ and rejoice. You serve the God of the resurrection, and therefore, He will lift you up.
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