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God’s Word for You

Luke 22:28-30 spiritual Sherpas

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, March 28, 2019

28 You are those who have remained with me in my temptations. 29 I am giving you a kingdom, just as my Father gave to me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. And you will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

The Greek word peirasmois (πειρασμοῖς) means “temptations” in almost all contexts in the New Testament. Two exceptions might be 1 Peter 4:12 (“Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering”) and Hebrews 3:8 (“during the time of testing in the desert”). Here Jesus might be talking about “temptations, hardship and rejection” (NIV Study Bible note), but it seems more likely that Jesus was talking especially about temptations, since this is the same word he will use in verse 40, “Pray that you will not fall into temptations.”

We don’t know all of the temptations Jesus faced, but after the temptation in the wilderness after his baptism (Luke 4:1-12), we are told that the devil “left him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). Some opportune times had come even through Jesus own disciples (“Get behind me, Satan!” Mark 8:33), but the greatest test was coming soon, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The disciples stood by their Lord through tough times, and he was warning them that even tougher times are right around the corner, on this very night. But he also gives them the gospel promise of their place in the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of verse 29 is not the church on earth. The Apostles were not to reign over the church—that was the whole point of verses 24-27. Rather, they were to serve; to serve as shepherds.

That doesn’t mean that pastors and other leaders do not have any authority in the church. When a congregation or a church body gives authority to a leader, then they must submit to that authority, yet the one with the position must remember that he is still their servant, with responsibilities and accountability to them.

What does this look like?

Guides from Nepal and India who help climbers reach the high peaks of the Himalayas are known as Sherpas. The most famous Sherpa was Tenzing Norgay, who in 1953 reached the summit of Mount Everest with (Sir) Edmund Hillary. The two men stood on the summit together for about 15 minutes, taking pictures, before descending again. They were the first human beings ever to stand on that highest point of the world.

Spiritually, the pastor is like a Sherpa. He guides and bears burdens and gives his assistance while the Christian climbs and clambers and descends and hangs on for dear life.

When the journey of this life is finished, we will have a place together in heaven. We will see the Apostles of Jesus there on their thrones, as John saw them in his vision (Revelation 4:4, 11:16). Until that time, we serve one another in this life. We who have a position of leadership are judges, but not justices of modern courts. We serve like the Judges of the Old Testament, leading, guiding, teaching, setting examples, and being spiritual Sherpas to God’s holy people. Pray for your spiritual Sherpa and seek out his guidance. Who knows what peaks the Lord will ask you to climb today?

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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