Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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The Son of Man did not come to be served...

The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life. (Matthew 20:28)


James and John were loyal followers of Jesus. They probably would have done anything he asked. But in a sense they were also clueless about what he was really up to. Their request to sit beside him in heaven shows how their values were still influenced by the world around them, where prestige ruled the day. Their intentions were good, but they still had a lot to learn about what it meant to serve God.

It wasnít only James and John, however, who had this problem. The other disciples were angry at them, probably because they also wanted seats of honor. But Jesus didnít condemn any of them. Instead, he took the opportunity to teach them about the nature of his kingdom: whoever wants to follow him must forget about being important in the eyes of the world. The one who wants to be great must learn to be the least.

Every day, we have the opportunity to learn the same lesson. Itís a chance to refocus our gaze on Christ and to sharpen our resolve to live no longer for ourselves but for him. We may be a bit like James and John, wanting to get closer to God and meaning well, but still needing to learn the way of the cross. Itís not bad to want to sit next to Jesus. But if we want to reign with him, we first need to learn how to ďdieĒ with him by embracing his life of trust and obedience to the Father.

At its heart, piety is not just about fasting, saying extra prayers, or doing a host of good deeds. These are only the means to the greater end, which is coming into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Jesus fixed his eyes on the cross, and he invites us to do the same. He knows that as we do, untold blessings will flow into our lives: a sense of joy; peace in times of stress; freedom from sins; and best of all, intimacy with God. Who could have ever thought that so much good could come out of a call to serve?



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