JESUS ESTABLISHES A NEW STANDARD
MATTHEW 20:24-28 NKJV
24 And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
James and John had just tried to set themselves up with a choice position in Jesus’ kingdom. And to really make it stick, they had their mother come ask Jesus to put her boys on His left and right hand. The left and right hand designated positions of supreme power. It is interesting that Jesus did not rebuke Mama or the boys for asking. He realized that they did not understand that the places of authority were in the Father’s hands.
But the boy’s request did not sit well with the other disciples. They were greatly displeased. Maybe they were upset that they did not ask first. Certainly, the idea of James and John being over them wasn’t a pleasant thought. So Jesus used their request as an opportunity to teach about His kingdom and how things would operate. Jesus established a new standard for leadership.
Jesus’ disciples understood how things ran in the world. The Gentiles were a people with no relationship with God. Jesus said these leaders lorded it over their followers and exercised authority over them. A key word is over them. Worldly leadership is top down. Leaders have position and authority, so everyone under them does whatever the leader wants or else.
Then Jesus makes a distinction between His kingdom and the world. He clarifies how things operate in kingdom leadership. In the kingdom of God, the leaders are there to serve. And Jesus actually uses the word slave. Those that want to be first are to be slaves. Those who want to be great are to be servants.
And then Jesus puts the proverbial bow on this leadership package. He reminds them of His example. Jesus never came to be served. And if anyone could have, it was Jesus. Instead, Jesus came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for us. He used His life to buy our freedom from Satan and the kingdom of darkness. Jesus gave His life so that we might have a relationship and life with God!
A new rule is in effect, boys! Do you want to be great? Then start figuring out a way you can be a blessing to those around you. Don’t look for positions of power and authority; look for ways you can help. After all, it’s not about you. This is about glorifying God and helping His people.
In the 90s, I created a silicone bracelet that was similar to the What Would Jesus Do? bracelets that were all the rage. My bracelet idea was JCTS. Jesus Came To Serve! Get it? The answer to What Would Jesus Do? Not feeling it? Don’t worry; neither did anyone else. My brilliant bracelet idea did not catch on. But it’s still a good point. Jesus came to serve, and so should we.
Lord, show me how I can be more of a servant to the people You have put in my life. My desire is to serve them as I serve You!