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. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 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.”Matthew 20:25-28 NIV
This came in response to a request for James and John to sit in the places of honor when Jesus came into his kingdom. They were still looking at Jesus as an earthly Messiah. One who would toss the Romans out and set up a kingdom. And they wanted to be sure that they had the most prestigious positions in the kingdom.
Greatness Measured by Service
But Jesus made clear to them that his kingdom operates in an entirely different way than earthly kingdoms. In his kingdom, greatness is measured by service. We tend toward viewing greatness as based on how many people know you. Or how many people look up to you as a leader of some kind. But, according to Jesus, it is the one who gives his life in service to the Lord and his kingdom that is greatest. Few may know you, or what you have done. But, if you have been faithful in your service to the kingdom, Jesus identifies you as one of the great ones. And his evaluation of your greatness is what really matters.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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2 thoughts on “Whoever Wants to Become Great – Matthew 20:25-28”
It amuses me in the day of social media that there are Christian who rate their greatness by how man people follow them on Twitter, or Facebook, etc. But as you write: “it is the one who gives his life in service to the Lord and his kingdom that is greatest.” Amen
It is tempting to look at measurables like social media likes and rate your value accordingly. But, as you suggest, it is ultimately a meaningless number.