The Upside Down Kingdom: The Kingdom Reversals from Luke's Gospel
Text: Luke 22:24-30
by Bob Young

What do you want written on your tombstone? Have you considered? "Here lies John Smith. Died, 1949, Buried, 1969." Certainly a disgruntled wife. "I told you I was sick." From an attorney: Final Decree. From a husband: Thrice married, thrice hen-pecked. Another attorney: the Defense rests. What is the epithet for your life? Reflection of what your life is about.

Study today in Luke. Reversals. Good Samaritan, grateful Samaritan, prodigal son vs. elder brother, Lazarus and rich man, Pharisee and publican. Reversals reflect priniciples of greatness. High to be brought low, low to be made high. Acts 17:6, turned world upside down. Reminds me of a popular children's song: "I'm Inright, Outright, Upright, downright happy all the time."

Our subject today is the Upside Down Kingdom, introduced by the reading from Luke 22:24ff.
Among Gentile pagans, world, society, even our culture....authority is used, abused, misused, lordship and superiority are valued, better than you, positional authority.
These people are given titles, Good Ruler, or take titles, or call themselves good rulers, but may not be so seen by followers.
We are today familiar with this world--selfish, individualistic, each for self. Rights without responsibilities. Stretch limits, take advantage. If Christians are not careful, we adopt such thinking and actions.
So observe...If this hierarchical model is stable, right side up, normal, heavy at bottom, typical triangle, may seem ok. But even so, is not to be so in church.

Church is upside down. The world works in one way, but you should not be like that! Note four principles.

Finally, in summary, whole story told, this is about service, because in the upside down church, everyone serves. All seek a place of service, ministry. May be no more important question than, "Where can I serve?" What can I do? Where can I give my life?
You are giving your life--for something, some cause, some priority, some value. Not all at once, as we say, "he gave his life for his country." Or, "Jesus gave his life for me." But one day, our epithet will be written. He or she gave a life for _________. What will go in the blank? Will it be spiritual? Heaven? Christ? God? Others?
For you, regardless of who you are, where you are, how far from God you may be or might have been in the past, regardless of what sins, Christ can wash them white as snow in the watery grave of baptism through the death of the old person and the newness which is promised in Christ. Christ awaits with open arms to welcome you home, if you will only decide, decide for him, decide to come. Decide today, decide now, for Jesus, for service, for ministry, for the only thing that matters for eternity. As we stand and sing.

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Last updated February 16, 2011.