Matthew 20: 24-26
During Lent we turn our hearts toward Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the cross. He has told his followers that he is going to be crucified and resurrect but they don’t understand. They are anticipating that the Kingdom of Heaven is going to be ushered in and the Romans ushered out. Many today are in hopes that these are “end times” and that Jesus is going to return and make life right. In any case, faith should make life easier, right? The mother of sons of Zebedee, James and John, asks if her sons cannot have seats at the right and left of Jesus when he starts to reign. The other ten disciples learn about the request and are furious. Even we get upset when we think someone has tried to pull strings or use “connections” to get honor. It feels unfair. Errr, life is unfair!
Jesus calls his crew together and sets them straight. The issue of who is first and who is last in the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for leadership talents but is given to those who are humble and who have a servant’s heart. “…” whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave…” We don’t like that word, “slave.” The history of slavery in the United States and around the world is ugly. We avoid hints that we are slaves. We are “household engineers.” We are “partners” with our husband and may not even take his name. We want our personhood to be recognized and valued. The kingdom of this world does not work like the kingdom of heaven!
As we reflect today on our lives and on the journey to the cross, let us ask the Holy Spirit to shed light on any areas in our life where we feel we are being victimized, being treated like slaves and where we feel we are not being properly respected. Perhaps we need to repent of our self-centeredness and we need to ask God to help us see it through his eyes. Abuse is sin but humility is godly. Blessings as you ponder this.