Jesus spent a lot of his time talking about the “Kingdom of Heaven” and what that looked like here on Earth (as it is in Heaven. Right? Get it!?). Jesus addresses the kingdom of this world after two disciples (and their mother!) made a request to have power and authority in this new Kingdom he kept talking about. “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.” We’re all familiar with a middle manager who lets a title go to his head. Your parents, bosses, teachers, mall cops, board members, pastors and elected officials all have authority. You’ve seen them wield that power poorly over their little kingdoms. Now before you get your “Down with Unjust Authorities” Facebook campaign together, keep reading what Jesus said. “But among YOU, it will be different.” YOU are the problem, not “them”. In the Kingdom of Heaven, YOU are going to do things differently. You are not here to be served, but to serve. And if you want to be a leader, Jesus says to be a servant. If you want to be first, he says to be a slave. Ask God to change your mindset to be of the Kingdom of Heaven to put others first. Pray that you can be different than the rulers who “lord it over their people” by becoming a servant instead.
20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”
“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
24 When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant. 25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”