“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 ransom for many.” Matt. 20:25-28
I’ve always seen pastors and Christian leaders as an elite group of people who wear starched shirts and talk very loftily about things that I don’t quite understand. And then I read scriptures like the one above and get incredibly confused. From my observations of the churches I’ve attended there has been a huge disconnect between what happens in the church and what the congregation does outside of the church. I believe that this disconnect can be identified in the nature of Jesus described in the gospels.
In Matthew 20 mother Zebedee approaches Christ and asks for the best seats in the new kingdom to come. Christ has to explain that the Father makes those decisions and then proceeds to explain the way of the Kingdom. He tells them they are to serve others and not to lord over those who are less than them. He explains that He in fact came to serve and not to be served. Then something amazing happens as He is traveling with the crowds two blind men, who Matthew didn’t care to mention there names, where sitting by the side of the road were crying out “Son of David have mercy on us!”. The crowd told the blind men to be quite and I’m sure the recently instructed disciples were to first to speak. Christ stopped and showed all of the little lambs what the master does. He loves the unlovable and ministers to them the deepest. After he healed the blind men they fell in line with the others.
What a heart rending passage to think of how much the Lord loved and ministered to those who were the last on the list of influential people. The Pharisees came to Him to accuse and question Him, and even in John 3 to ask Him deep questions, But Christ took all of His time to look for the lost sheep. He sought after those who no one else loved or could be capable of loving.
Romans 12:16 Says to, “Live in harmony with one another; do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not think you are superior.” As a side note this scripture is incredibly powerful. After spending some time meditating on it I have begun to see it in many different lights. For example, Live in harmony with one another is the goal and to accomplish this goal you, 1. Humble yourself, 2. Push aside your desire to be recognized by those in high position it is not going to give you any acknowledgement before God. 3. Think you are inferior lowlier than others… when others do something wrong don’t look down on them remember that without the grace of God you would be doing the same things probably worse things.
This lowliness is the little hinge that the entire great commission swings on. In John chapter 5 the invalid is sitting by the pool, and once again John didn’t think his name was important, Jesus came and healed him.
I think we all need to look in our lives at those who we have been overlooked. We need to seek out ways to humble ourselves and make much of others. Can we just seek to be like Jesus, can we exemplify the servant leadership in life, can we come into any setting and pray to the Lord to lead us to those who need us. Can we identify with the lowly so that they could feel comfortable enough to run to us when things are bad? Are we posturing ourselves as if we have earned God’s grace?
Jesus, may your spirit inside us allow us to take in deeply the humility and profundity of Matthew 20:28 the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.