Celebrations add so much to the enjoyment of the Autumn season. Reformation Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day are upon us and call for great rejoicing. Most of us will include a memorable event to set such special days apart. Families with gather, food will be prepared and celebrations full of thanksgiving and kindness will flow. Yet all of these point to a greater celebration that is yet to come. A celebration when the church will be distinguished by holiness, wars will cease, nations will prosper and the full fruit of Jesus’ birth will be the complete deliverance of the whole world from all evil and injustice. It will come. Wait for it!
“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” (Luke 12.37).
That is an incredible statement! In the October Byram Banner I drew attention the true nature of blessedness. It is the hearing and the doing of Jesus’ teaching. Yet now another nuance is added with the promise of a celebration of the grandest kind, even exceeding holiday or even Olympic proportions.
But first, see that this blessedness is the present condition of those who are transformed by the teaching of Jesus and whose lives are shaped by his purposes. The believer who is at his post, watching and alert to his master’s desires, will be ready when his Lord suddenly returns and wraps up all of his kingdom concerns. To be that person is to be a happy, fulfilled person.
But secondly, this verse announces an amazing celebration which will be had for such blessed ones. The master, Jesus, takes up the servant’s role and gives himself personally to making the celebration of his own return an unbelievable event. Robed in the worker’s clothing, he personally looks to his servant’s relaxation and feasting. The master serves his servants in the grandest of feasts. Clearly, the pomp and circumstance of this celebration will be wrapped up in the servant host. Remember this is the Lord who is celebrated for his true greatness. It is he who is described in Ephesians 4.8: “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives and he gave gifts to men.” Look up Hebrews 1.2,3; Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 to remind yourself of the real stature of this reigning King.
Do not think that this celebration will be hosted in private. Jesus has already announced his plan. No, this dining experience will be in the midst of worshiping angels like those that first appeared to the shepherds watching their flocks on the night of Jesus’s birth. All of creation will bow in wonder at his love for his own.
You might be reluctant to imagine enjoying such an act of true humility in the person of King Jesus. John’s gospel gives us a glimpse of the profundity of it: “Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:3–5, ESV). No doubt you recognize that there is something essentially wrong in enjoying a celebration where the one we delight in is the same one who waits upon us.
Perhaps you are like me in this way. I know that I need the gospel. I cannot keep the law of God as scripture requires. I have tried and I have failed. The sentence that hangs over my head is “Convicted Sinner!” So I turn to the gracious offer that Jesus made. “My righteousness for your sin” he says. “I offer my death in your stead so that you may live.” That is the free offer of the gospel. I believe it and receive his gift. I know no other way. But, I think at times: “If I could do what is necessary, I would.” If I could stand before God in my own righteousness, I would surely do it. I would prefer self-sufficiency and dislike dependence. I am that proud, that arrogant.
The graciousness of our Lord and our God as reflected in Luke 12.37 jerks my chain. God doesn’t give himself because it is necessary. He gives himself because that is who he is, to the core of his being. He delights in servant love!
Roger G. Collins, Grace Presbyterian Church, Byram; *English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society. Exported from Logos Bible Software; Originally published in the November 2014 Byram Banner, Byram Mississippi