And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
James and John had a bold request: Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory. The other disciples were outraged. Can’t blame them. But Jesus used the entreaty for a teaching moment.
The ways of the world are built around power and control—people lording it over others. The golden rule of the world is—the one who has the gold rules. Power is used to make others stoop. Jesus, however, lived and taught counter to culture. For those who follow him, true greatness is measured by service. If you want to be first in line, you must go to the back of the line. Jesus, himself, showed us how that works. He did not come to earth to sit on a throne. He left his throne in heaven to hang on a cross. He did not come to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many. In his death, he demonstrated the ultimate act of service.
Following hard after Jesus is not about positions of honor or power. Following hard after Jesus is more “backstage” than “front stage.” The rewards are given to those willing to serve wherever and whenever they are needed. Many times that may mean that no one ever sees—no one, that is, except Jesus. He looks deep into the heart and sees our motives and intentions.
- Ask God to help you be willing to serve in a way that no one, except him, sees.
- Ask God to help you teach your children the importance of going to the back of the line.
Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching us about service and for showing us how to serve. May we follow hard after you as our Savior and follow your example of true service. In your name we pray. Amen.
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