Friday, July 24, 2009

Daily - 7/24/09

Matthew 20:20-28

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.

21 He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom."

22 Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can."

23 He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left (, this) is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father."

24 When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers.

25 But Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.

26 But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;

27 whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.

28 Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."


Sometimes I forget about this dynamic between Christ and the disciples. Christ's followers were human. In this passage and in the parallel passage in Mark, James and John wanted to be recognized as “the best”, and the rest of the Twelve were jealous. In Luke's account of the upper room, we are told of the disciples arguing among themselves about whom among them would become the greatest.

In this passage, we see can see exactly what he says. In the Upper Room, Jesus responds by washing their feet (combining Luke's and John's accounts). The teaching here is both simple and spectacular: those who wish to be great in the eyes of God need to be humble servants. Piece of cake, right?

Christ set the bar on what a humble servant should be. When I look deep inside and think about how much of a humble servant I really am, the answer isn’t good. I have a long row to hoe with pride and humility. The crazy thing is that God has shown me over and over and over that His will, not mine, will be done. But I still struggle with it. In fact, the only times I've been successful on resisting my pride is when I seek the Lord's help and accept how it comes. The help comes, but here's the punchline -- it typically comes with a humility lesson. Hopefully someday I will learn.