Great among you
And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Once again Jesus is faced with a crisis that threatens the unity of his struggling band of disciples. The sons of Zebedee and their mother have just asked Jesus to allow them to sit on the right and left of him when he comes into his kingdom. As the the Scripture says, "the ten became indignant with the two brothers"
Jesus them proceeds to give the disciples a lesson on humility. I guess they had never heard John the Baptist when he proclaimed that, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Jesus reminds them what it truly means to be a Christ-follower.
In our own lives, it has been my experience that most of us have character flaws which make it easier for us to go astray in certain ways. Examine your own life and see if this is true or not. Generally speaking, I would say that tragic human pride is one of the ones at the top. Hubris is pride that leads to sadness and lost dreams. Although on the surface, it fools you into thinking you have a right to be prideful...you really don't. And if you are a Christ-follower...doubly so. I know in my own life this is certainly true and I can give you example after example of when I tumbled over the edge and things ended up badly for me. If I had only been more humble, this could have all been avoided. Ask my wife, I am sure she can come up with more examples than I am willing to admit. :-)
The brothers who asked Jesus to sit on his right and left were prideful, but on closer inspection so were the other 10 disciples since they became indignant when they heard the request by the other two. Hubris is like that, It multiplies and we all need to be mindful when that is happening. We need to curb that impulse we all have to want our 15 minutes of fame.
Jesus teaches us that greatness in the kingdom does not depend on you doing great things, but by doing small things and all things with great love and humility. By being a servant, you become a leader; By being humble, you become great; By dying, you gain life and by giving selflessly, you gain fulfillment. This is a lesson we all need to hear and take to heart. This is a lesson we all need to practice everyday. It is too easy for us to become caught up in what the world is saying and how the rules work here. In the kingdom it is radically different.
With God, we already have status. Not based on what we did, but what Jesus did. We do not need to prove ourselves worthy, we are given it to us by Grace. His Mercy is all we need to achieve. With the world it is not so. That is why Jesus emphasizes the need for a servant's heart when dealing with people. The need extends to everyone you encounter, but particularly to the people of God.
Today as you go about doing the things you do, remember this. Think on this. Take it to heart and meditate on it. It is one of the greatest keys we have to unlock the true potential that we have in God's world.