Father God, I worship You today and I long to enjoy You forever. Grant me a bold life lived for You, not marred by regret.
Read MATTHEW 20:17-28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Our lives need to be focused on building God’s kingdom in God’s way, rather than kingdom building for ourselves.
Kingdom values are different. The disciples were slow to learn–and so are we. Ever since Peter’s confession of him as the Christ (Matt. 16:13-16), Jesus had been patiently teaching his disciples about his mission and what it meant to be his follower. Here, servant, self-sacrificial leadership modeled by Jesus is contrasted with the ambitious, me-first aspirations of the disciples.
God’s kingdom is full of surprises. Yes, Jesus their leader, as appropriate surely, was going to Jerusalem, the regional seat of power–but not to defeat the Romans and be crowned king. Instead, the longed-for Messiah would be “mocked and flogged and crucified” (19). It seemed that defeat and shame awaited him and his followers. The disciples didn’t seem to notice (or understand) the different kind of victory Jesus was promising (19). They were imagining a worldly kind of status. James and John lobby for the best jobs (20; Mark 10:35-45). In their response to Jesus’ gently ironic questioning (22) perhaps the brothers had in mind the status-rich drinking vessel of a powerful leader. The other disciples’ indignation was probably about jealousy rather than understanding of God’s kingdom (24), but the cup of Jesus’ sacrifice is a life poured out for others, and James (murdered by Herod Agrippa I; Acts 12:2) and John (in a long life lived for God, including exile to Patmos) would indeed share Jesus’ cup of suffering.
Don’t seek worldly status, says Jesus (25-28). He offers something far greater. Expanding his “last will be first” teaching (Matt. 19:30, 20:16), he shows us that true kingdom life is about freely serving others, loving them to the point of giving our lives on their behalf. That’s how Jesus lived, giving his life as a ransom for us (28), so that we might share in the joy of his resurrection.
Read Philippians 2:5-11. We live in a world of push, shove, and grab. In what ways can you follow the example of Jesus as outlined in the passage, and embrace the servant model for living?
Heavenly Father, living for You can be counter-intuitive and difficult. Help me to recalibrate my thinking and through Your power, live as a servant for You.
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