Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said.... "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:35-38, 45
The introduction to the request was bold enough: We want you to do for us whatever we ask. But the request itself took the prize: Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory. The other disciples were outraged at such an over-the-top request. Can't blame them. But Jesus used the entreaty as a teachable moment.
The ways of the world are built around power and control--people lording it over others. The golden rule of the world is he who has the gold, rules. Power is used to make others stoop. Jesus, however, turned the tables. For those who follow Him, true greatness is measured by service. In His model, if you want to be first in line, you must go to the back of the line. Jesus showed us how that works. He did not come to earth to sit on a throne. He left His throne in heaven to hang on a cross. He "did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many." In His death He demonstrated the ultimate act of service.
Following hard after Jesus is not about positions of honor or power. Following hard after Jesus is more "backstage" than "front stage." The rewards are given to those willing to serve wherever and whenever they are needed. Many times that will mean no one ever sees--no one, that is, except Jesus. He looks deeply into the heart and sees our motives and intentions. And when He sees a true servant, He smiles.
Lord Jesus, thank You for teaching us about service and for showing us how to serve. May we follow hard after You as our Savior and follow Your example of true service. In Your name we pray. Amen.