Thought of the week
“Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
The disciples, James and John, should have perhaps known better than to make the request of Jesus to put them at his right hand and his left hand in his glorious kingdom.
James and John wanted to be the big guys at Jesus’ side and so their request is all about earthly status and power. James and John’s expectations and hopes concerning the long awaited reign of the Messiah were completely different to the reign Jesus was about to herald in.
Jesus tells the disciples that it is not up to him to determine status in the Kingdom of God, it is God the Father who decides that. Jesus then turns conventional thinking on its head, to be truly great in the kingdom of God we are called to serve others. The reign of Jesus as the promised Messiah will be a kingdom of spirit and conversion in which humble service, rather than wealth, power and influence, will be exulted. Do you wish to become first? Then become last. Do you seek to attain greatness? Then become least in the world. Do you want to become a leader or ruler? Then become the servants of those you wish to lead or rule.
Jesus challenges all of his disciples, us included, to seek greatness not in power and popularity, not in counting the numbers of followers we may have on twitter, Instagram or Facebook, or in our wealth and status; but to seek greatness in being last, in being the servant to others, of advocating justice for the poor and victimised, and in being wise and measured in all that we say and do. For it is by putting ourselves in humble service of the lowly, the needy and the powerless, that we become true disciples of Christ and continue the work of Christ’s kingdom here on earth.
Fr Ross Bullock