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Fifth Sunday in Lent

Today’s devotional reading discusses servant leadership and comes from Servant Leadership: Setting Leaders Free.

Scripture Readings

Jeremiah 31:31–34
Psalm 119:9–16
Hebrews 5:1–10
Mark 10:32–45

Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.

Devotional Reading

The idea of servant leadership really goes all the way back to God’s Old Testament people. Kings in ancient Israel were often called “shepherds.” The Lord held them responsible to serve His people, to protect, guide, instruct, and cherish their subjects, not to lord it over them or to “fleece the flock,” so to speak. (See Jeremiah 23:1–8.) But not even the Old Testament fleshed out the concept in all its fullness. To get the fullest picture of servant leadership, God’s people had to wait until God Himself took on human flesh to live and die among us. In Jesus, humanity finally saw with its own eyes what true servant leadership is like (Philippians 2:5–11). . . .

We cannot transform ourselves into Christlike servant leaders any more than a mud turtle can sprout wings and teach itself to fly. Our Lord teaches that He must work the metamorphosis we need (Romans 12:1–2). In the Sacrament of Holy Baptism we have been given a new identity. The Spirit continues to work that new identity in our hearts as He integrates our thoughts and desires, shaping us daily into the image of Christ Himself. Isaiah describes Christ as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). As we meditate on Jesus’ great love and sacrifice for us on Calvary, we ourselves become more intent on serving others. As always, only Christ alive in us and working through the Word can do what must be done (Philippians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16–17). . . .

Servant leadership is based in one’s identity, which then shapes attitudes, values, and behaviors. While unbelievers can aspire to live out servant-leader values, Christian leaders have the supernatural comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit, transforming them day-by-day into the image of Christ. In Baptism, this indwelling Spirit has created a new identity for us. We are brothers and sisters of the risen, reigning, and serving Christ. Our Savior comforts us in our failures with His forgiveness, and He helps us in our efforts at servant leadership. To Him be all honor for what He has worked in us and through us.

Devotional reading is from Servant Leadership: Setting Leaders Free, pages 9, 14–15, 18 © 2001 Jane L. Fryar. Published by Concordia Publishing House.

Hymn

Hymn is “Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain,” hymn 435 from Lutheran Service Book. Video © 2018 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

 

Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.

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