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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2018
(Part 40)

GREATNESS IN SERVANTHOOD – 2


February 28, 2018
Today’s gospel: Matthew 20:17-28


We are to be great in Christ. For some, that will be their undoing, as they look to sinful pride in such greatness. For others, that will be their exaltation, as they accept greatness with humility.

Jesus had just finished telling his disciples about his coming passion (v.17-19). But here are James and John, together with their mother, asking Jesus for seats of honor at his right and at his left in his kingdom (v.20-21). And even when Jesus, in reference to what would happen to him and conversely to his followers, asked them if they could drink the cup of suffering, they said yes. (v.22b).

Now “when the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers.” (v.24). It probably was not because they thought the two were doing something outrageous. Rather, they themselves were thinking the same things, desiring the same positions of glory, but were beaten to it by the two!

Jesus then used this live situation to teach them a lesson. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant” (v.25-26). It was not wrong to be great, or even to wish to be great in the sense of doing great things for God and for His glory, but greatness was not about worldly power but about humble service.

The first is the last. The greatest is the least. “Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” (v.27). Greatness is about taking the lowest place, and just allowing God to lift up the humble to great heights. It is not about being the lord but being the servant. It is the very posture of Jesus, who is Lord and Master. “Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve” (v.28a). And in such service, it is to give one’s all, to hold nothing back, to offer one’s very life. Like Jesus, it is “to give his life as a ransom for many.” (v.28b).

You are destined for greatness. Desire it, as God’s will for you. But understand well what it entails. Let not Jesus say, “You do not know what you are asking.” (v.22a).

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