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Matthew 20:25-28: Son of Man came to serve

Posted by adventbiblestudy on June 2, 2012


Matthew 20:25-28 NLTse But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. (26) But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. (28) For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

When Jesus was finally led by the Spirit to share the prophecies about His betrayal, trial, torture, and execution in Jerusalem, He was not surprised at the reaction of His disciples. They stared at Him in disbelief, trying to make sense of what Jesus had just shared with them. The shock was much like that of a sudden death of a loved one. The first feeling was of course denial. Looking at the puzzled looks on their faces, Jesus knew this was all He could share at the moment. He wanted to share more. He wanted to prepare, and comfort them. Jesus also wanted to receive the comfort of a soft spoken word of encouragement.

Instead John and James’ mother came with a request. They looked at Jesus as the Savior they had been taught to look for. After three years of watching, and learning from Him, they still clung to the worldly concepts commonly taught about the Savior. They still believed Jesus would use His powers to over throw the pagan government of Rome, and establish His Kingdom on earth. This is what prompted the question, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” They failed to see Jesus’ kingdom was right in front of them in the old, maimed, blind, sick, and needy. Jesus’ kingdom consisted of the demon possessed man and child, the woman with the flow condition, the lepers, paralyzed, the women and children coming to see Him everyday, and yes, Roman commanders who believed.

The strange question brought a sense of relief to the disciples, who did not want to dwell on the thought their Teacher, Friend, and Savior would be taken from them. In their minds, that was as likely as the stars falling from the sky.

Jesus instantly noticed a look of relief come over them. He knew the question He was asked took their minds off the pain and placed them in a state of hopefulness. That is why He did not directly answer the question, but composed His reaction in a manner to direct their minds to His Father in Heaven. He wanted them to take their minds off the world with its traditions, and put their faith in God.

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.” Matthew remembered how he was taught to pressure the people into paying their taxes. The authority he was given to be judge, jury, and executioner excited most, but made Matthew feel uneasy. Tax collectors assumed a great deal of authority. Their word was final, with no chance of appeal.

An outsider would tend to covet that type of power, but they had no idea why tax collectors wielded their authority so decisively. Tax collectors were under pressure from the governors, who constantly competed for favor with the Roman senators and emperor. The more taxes they collected, the closer they moved to a favored appointment. Their success was built upon the backs of the common people. Their success was achieved by dashing the hopes and dreams of their subjects.

Jesus continued His lesson. “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

In this lesson Jesus hoped to achieve two things. He wanted them to remember the example He set for them over the past three years. He also wanted them to realize, the Kingdom His Father was about to give Him will be far different than any on earth. Jesus wanted them to pray on this subject so they would finally realize, Jesus will serve as Lord of lords, just as He had served in His life on earth.

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