“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”
The roofs of thousands of Florida homes were badly damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Soon afterward, a humorous story circulated about three mothers in a restaurant. One spoke proudly of her lawyer son, and another of her son, a doctor. But when the third mother said that her son was a roofer, all the customers stormed her table to ask for his phone number.
James and John did not yet understand what Jesus was all about—but they knew it was BIG, and they wanted a special place in whatever it was. So their mother made this special request: “Make my boys your number one and your number two!”
The ten other disciples were furious, because they too wanted to be first in Jesus’ order of power and privilege.
Jesus called a meeting to clarify his guiding principles. In government and most other systems, the highest positions have the greatest authority—but “not so with you,” Jesus said. To follow Jesus is to love your neighbors for his sake. A top follower of Jesus is a top servant.
This is the lesson Jesus reiterated when he washed his disciples’ feet, the night before he went to the cross: “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15).
Lord and Teacher, just as you came into the world to love us and serve for our good, help us to love our neighbors and serve for their good, for your sake. Amen. (AM)