Towards the end of His ministry and shortly before the cross, Jesus had to be frustrated when his disciples got into an argument about which of them is the greatest. This was recorded in Matthew 20:20-28. The cause of the argument was as current as today’s world, a helicopter mom. Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” Holy smokes, this woman was audacious. First, notice her approach, she came to Jesus with faux humility, “kneeling down.” Then, unless you have been around helicopter mom’s, you would be astounded by what she asked. She requested that Jesus give her two sons the most privilege positions in heaven…one sits at Jesus’ right and the other on His left. But, Jesus emphasized to her to that He was the servant of His Father. Here is what He said, “23 You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
Oh man, were the other disciples mad?! “24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.”
Jesus stepped into the middle of this argument and used this experience to emphatically teach how the fundamentals of life in His Kingdom vividly contrasted to life in this world. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In this world, we respect the hotshots, “the rulers (who) lord it over them, and their high officials (who) exercise authority over them.” Jesus assertively proclaimed this is not even close to the way His Kingdom works. In fact, he stated it is just the opposite. “26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Wow, what a zinger! If the disciples had not spent so much time with Jesus and saw, touched, heard and experienced eternal life in Him, they would have probably walked away. To be great in His kingdom, you put others first and become a servant even to the point of being a slave.
Then, Jesus uses this vivid experience to proclaim what His ministry was all about, 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. The Son of Man came to serve and die for mankind so that we could know God.
Hey guys, let’s be careful and not get sucked up into the model of this world (Romans 12:2). Listen to this very powerful passage in James 3, 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Jesus came to serve. So, must we.