Mark 10 35 – 45
James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came up to him. “Teacher, we have something we want you to do for us.”
“What is it? I’ll see what I can do.”
“Arrange it,” they said, “so that we will be awarded the highest places of honour in your glory – one of us at your right, the other at your left.”
Jesus said, “You have no idea what you’re asking. Are you capable of drinking the cup I drink, of being baptized in the baptism I’m about to be plunged into?”
“Sure,” they said. “Why not?”
Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you will drink the cup I drink, and be baptised in my baptism. But as to awarding places of honour, that’s not my business. There are other arrangements for that.”
When the other ten heard of this conversation, they lost their tempers with James and John.
Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”
Every day in our world numerous people jockey for power, esteem and position. This need is so inherent in us human beings that often we do not recognise the subtle ways we strive for power, esteem or position.
I wonder if our need to serve others is as natural to us as our need and desire for recognition and power. Today take a few moments and ask yourself: How strong is my need for power and acclaim? How deep is my need to serve others? Which need comes first in my life?
The request of the apostles brings to light our natural desires to be approved of and rewarded in worldly terms. Jesus tells us his meaning of real greatness – service and the care of others.
Realising that Jesus is our servant is what helps us to be servants to others.