Spiritual Pride Needs a Context, Part 2

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.                                                                           (1 Jn. 2:16)

From The High Standards of God for End-Times Christians

But the events of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, in place of a worldly coronation and political reign in Jerusalem, also removed from the apostles the previous context of determining who would have high positions in the supposed new government.  The first century church of new converts was the actual kingdom that resulted from the ministry of Jesus, not the worldly reign of Jesus the political King in Jerusalem.  In the context of the New Testament church, Jesus’ teachings about the least being the greatest, Jesus washing the apostle’s feet, and Jesus using a young child as the example of the correct attitude for spiritual leadership, now made perfect sense to the apostles.

Luke 20:46-47 reads:

46 Beware of the scribes, who desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the market places, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts.

47 Who devour widow’s houses, and for a show make long prayers, the same shall receive greater condemnation.

When the apostles disputed among themselves who should be the greatest, they were on a parallel road in terms of attitude with these scribes.  Although they did not realize it, they too were similarly thinking about wearing long robes, being greeted as “somebody” in the market place, having the highest seats in the synagogue, and occupying the chief rooms at festivals.  The sinful pride side of their natures was showing itself in this dispute, on account of the context of the possible upcoming rulership of Jesus in Israel.  This would have been the beginning of church leadership personality conflicts, power structures, political intrigue, and unholy ambition in the Christian church.

That is why Jesus took the time to speak to them about this important issue on several occasions. And that is why, in God’s infinite wisdom, He produced a different context for His bride the church from what the apostles had in mind as they disputed on their way to Jerusalem who would be the greatest. God had in mind the humble New Testament church that could evangelize the world without the burden of worldly ambitions and concerns.  The three thousand new converts on the Day of Pentecost would need church leaders who were humble shepherds and “servants of all”, not self-important people more concerned with their outward appearances, titles, and reputations like the scribes of Luke 20:46-47.  In Peter’s speech to the multitudes on the Day of Pentecost, there is not a hint about himself, or about any personal ambitions regarding what he plans to do or to build in Jerusalem.  Everything in Peter’s message is about Jesus, and about people coming to Christ through faith.  Peter is no longer thinking about having drapes measured for his large corner office in the Temple.  Peter is fishing for men according to his true calling (Mark 1:17), not fishing for financial donations to build something.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

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