Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Matthew 20:17-28 (NRSV)
While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.”
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Somewhere around my parent’s house is a picture frame that says “Mom Loves Me Best.” Even though my sisters and I are all adults now, we still compete over whose picture gets to be in it. We jokingly tease each other about who is the favorite based on how often we visit or what bragging rights we have earned for our parents.
Everyone likes to be the favorite and to earn special privileges, which is exactly what James and John’s mother was trying to do in this scripture. She wanted her sons to claim their spots in the “Jesus Loves Me Best” competition. But Jesus told them that that’s not how things work in God’s kingdom. In God’s kingdom, things are turned upside down. The people who are great do not seek their own reward, but look for ways they can serve others. Jesus demonstrated this in being willing to “give his life a ransom for many.” We can live this out in our own lives by choosing today to set aside our own desires and look for ways that we can serve those around us.
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, you had every right to exercise power over this world, yet you came to serve us instead. Help me to follow your example. The world teaches us that we should seek power and privilege. Help me to seek you and your kingdom instead. Open my eyes today, Lord, to see those whom I can serve. Amen.
Go with God.