WEEK FOUR, DAY FIVE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK FOUR THEME: SERVING
DAY THREE THEME: SHINE LIKE STARS
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 20:20-28 (CEB)
“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus along with her sons. Bowing before him, she asked a favor of him. ‘What do you want?’ he asked. She respnded, ‘Say that these two sons of mine will sit, one on your right hand and one on your left, in your kingdom.’
Jesus replied, ‘You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink from the cup that I’m about to drink from?’ They said to him, ‘We can.’ He said to them, ‘You will drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left hand isn’t mine to give. It belongs to those for whom my Father prepared it.’
Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them over and said, ‘You know that those who rule the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave – just as the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.'”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: Oh a mother and her sons! What a mother wouldn’t do when it comes to her children, even when they are grown men! She will always want the very best for them and maybe even embarrass them to trying to make it happen.
I wonder if the sons of Zebedee knew what a their mother was about to ask. It seems a little lame of them to walk over to Jesus with their mom for that purpose. Maybe they were just being respectful without a clue of what she was up to, but they certainly chimed in with their oath to drink from the same cup as Jesus.
Jesus obviously already knows their heart and has no doubt of their willingness to heed God’s call on their life. Who sits where in God’s Kingdom is simply up to God is the final answer, but the whole incident raised the human jealousy tendency among the twelve and naturally some rumbling began – OH our humanness! Jesus addresses the issue straight-forwardly and uses it to teach them about the difference in authority in God’s Kingdom from what we experience otherwise.
In God’s Kingdom, serving one another is the most valuable form of existence. Putting the needs of others ahead of the needs of yourself, expecting no recognition at all is what rules, not the adorning attire of importance in our society. It is not crowns or robes or titles that will bring honor in God’s Kingdom, it is the ability to see a need and meet a need without the need of recognition or reciprocal action.
God’s Kingdom is the place where kindness is the priority of the day, outdoing one another in love not from competition but from what is in the heart. Jesus seems pleased here that the sons of Zebedee as well as all of the twelve are committed to their call to follow him. He possibly is even a bit amused at the thought of reserving places of honor in God’s Kingdom, even touched that they see themselves serving with Jesus eternally. It is a glimpse of their loyalty and appreciation of the life they have with Jesus. But the truth here is that there is always more to be learned about denying ourselves and following the cause of Christ.
The heart of Christ will always be looking out for the other – doing what one can for the good of the whole through serving one another. It is very hard to even imagine such a life. Typically we don’t have too much trouble accepting the kindnesses of others. Our hearts are touched and the gesture carries forward with us. But way too often it stops there and we may not be as open or eager to pay it forward. As we understand Jesus more we will also grasp more and more of his compassion and joy in reaching out to others and making a difference in their lives through the kindnesses we can offer at any given moment.
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord! Help me serve in my daily living just like you!