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Monday, January 25, 2021

Servants of the Word

By Joe Chesser

    There’s an interesting phrase in the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. Though many others had undertaken it before, it was Luke’s goal, guided by the Holy Spirit, to write an account of the “things that have been fulfilled among us” (Luke 1.1), meaning a carefully researched and orderly account of the story of Jesus (Luke 1.3). Where do you begin such a project? Luke began with the first eyewitnesses of Jesus (Luke 1.2). These eyewitnesses were “from the beginning” (ESV) or “from the first” (NIV) and handed down the details of Jesus’ life.
    But in addition to that, Luke also describes these eyewitnesses as “servants of the word” (Luke 1.2). That’s the phrase I find intriguing. No doubt there were many eyewitnesses of Jesus. Most of what Jesus did was out in the open for all to see and hear. But, as we know, not many became “servants of the word.” Some followed Jesus to be healed; some followed him to be fed; some followed him out of curiosity; others followed him to find fault. As John would write, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1.11). So, not all who followed and listened to Jesus would be reliable resources on which to base an “orderly account” of Jesus’ life.
    What does it mean to be a “servant of the word”? As we mull that over a bit there are some things that come to mind. Servants of the word are not passive about the message of Jesus, the Word. They are not hearers only (James 1.22). Instead, they listen intently to the word of God, and continue to study it. They are passionate learners and doers. They are not forgetful hearers, but actively, purposefully and wisely put it into practice (James 1.25; Matthew 7.24-27). From a human standpoint, for Luke be as accurate as possible about the story of Jesus he needed to hear the eyewitness accounts of those who were serious about Jesus and his message. So serious about his words that they were called “servants of the word.”
    Today’s world desperately needs to hear from “servants of the word.” We cannot give eyewitnesses accounts of Jesus, but we can be just as serious about what he said as were the Apostles and others who went everywhere “preaching the word” (Acts 8.4). Today’s world is just as spiritually lost as the 1st century world was. Today’s world is just as religiously confused as was the 1st century world. Today’s world needs to hear the pure gospel message as did the 1st century world. Today’s world desperately needs you and me to be “servants of the word” so they can see and hear about Jesus.
    The challenge is before us. Let’s be more than daily Bible readers, as important as that is. Let’s be more that students who sit in churches listening to teachers and preachers, as important as that is. Let’s resolve to be “servants of the word.”
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO.  He may be contacted at joeandareva@yahoo.com


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