35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 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.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Servitude doesn’t sit to well in the land of the free. We are called to become servants. We follow the servant king and like James and John we hope he will make a name for us. We want him to give us a leg up on the corporate ladder. We want him to stimulate our minds so that we get ahead. We want Jesus to be our stepping stone to greatness. We follow Jesus because he makes our lives better. How could we accept that slavery and servitude is better than freedom?
Firstly, Freedom is an illusion. I am free to view pornography in the States, but in fact many feel the tendrils of darkness permeate their heart and mind and bind them in addiction when they sit in my office. I am free to drink as much as I please, but many find themselves craving their next drink. I am free to be a gamer, but games can become enslaving as I grind through the levels on my computer games. All these false tales of success enslave us. I gain pleasure, relief, or status but it is like an upper that accelerates the system only to leave the body with a vacuous downer that plummets the soul further into hell. So I am born a slave to passions and I learn a desire for recognition acceptance and power.
To become the servant of God and of others is to empty the self of this toxic delusion. The most glorious hours are the ones where you forget your ambitions and lay aside your lusts and lose yourself in service to a child. The most fulfilling moment is when you listen to someone and you lay aside what you were going to do tomorrow and you embrace where God has you for today. When you die to your ambition, you attain success beyond your dreams. When you accept the way God has designed you and move in his plan, you find undreamed of self-acceptance because you are fully accepted by Him.
I am a slave to destructive thoughts and I pursue pleasures that are bad for my body and mind. I just ate an extra cup-cake. It was chocolate. I know that I can eat chocolate, but I find it hard not to be its slave. I pray that our passions would be for wholesome things. I pray that our ambition would be to see you lifted up. May we not scheme about higher salary or status. May we be grateful for what we have and dependent upon you for what we lack.
- What did James and John ask Jesus?
- Why did Jesus answer as he did?
- What were the other disciples thinking?
- How do you try and ride on Jesus’ coat tails?
- What does being a servant mean for you?