“But Jesus called to them and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’.” Matthew 20:25-28
The sermon at the Christmas Eve service at St. Paul’s was entitled, “Jesus Got Dirty.” The Son of God was born, not in a sterile hospital room, but a stable, filled with animal smells and rotting straw. He was welcomed by sweaty, travel-worn, unwashed people. Think about it …. if a feeding trough was the cleanest place to lay a newborn, what were the rest of the surroundings like? Jesus, the purest person ever, was willing to get dirty to serve us. Why? Well, there was no other choice. Justice had to be satisfied, and it had to be satisfied by a human being. So Jesus came down into our mess in order to redeem our lives.
This should tell us something important about service. If we’re to be servants, there are plenty of times when we’ll get dirty. Sometimes the dirt will just be the everyday grime of life — cleaning up the garage, washing the feet of the elderly, changing babies and cooking meals. Other times, we’ll find ourselves dealing with the mud created by sinful behavior, selfish decisions and untidy circumstances. Often we won’t know what we’re getting into until we’re mired in that mud as well.
Serving isn’t easy and it isn’t neat. We’ll deal with death and divorce, disease and distasteful duties. The people we’ll serve won’t always be “nice” or even appreciative. We’ll get dirty… but Jesus was willing to get dirty for us … are we willing to continue His work and get dirty for others?