Who Are We Becoming?
Matthew 20: 17 – 28
Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem.
On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
A Mother’s Request Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Pastor and author A. W. Tozer once wrote, “What we think about when we are free to think about what we will – that is what we are or will soon become.” Throughout the past few weeks, we have been taking the time to prayerfully participate in moments of prayer, fasting, and giving. These moments have opened our heart and our spirit to instants of reflection. There are numerous thoughts that have run through our minds in the moments of reading scripture, prayer and meditation or when abstaining from certain activities for the purpose of fasting. What is it that runs through our thoughts when we think about God?
This is a Challenging question as it may reveal who we are or who we are seeking to become. Matthew’s Gospel reveals the thoughts that were running through the minds of two disciples and their mother. The sons of Zebedee and their mother had been in conversation and we have just a glimpse of what they were thinking.
She asked, she said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” We are often apt to seeking to a relationship with God because of what God is able to give us rather than joining God in the work that will transform us. Becoming faithful followers, disciples of Jesus Christ is not about gaining seats of authority but being sent to serve. Serving does have the power to give hope, to strengthen community, to transform our homes, families, and most of all our lives. The image of a servant serving is anything but powerful. Let us strive to become faithful servants not that we might have power over people but that we might have the power to serve people.
Without God, this world would indeed be a dessert place without an oasis; but thank God every one in a while in this waste howling wilderness, we come to a spot we call, “The Sweet Hour of Prayer.” And there this little caravan may stop for awhile and be refreshed with a little talk with Jesus. Let us unload now at that spot, and bow our hands and hearts in earnest prayer. Rising above every other need , O heavenly Father, is our great need for thee. More than our bodies need food, and drink, and clothing, and shelter do our souls need to feast and find refreshment upon Thee, and to feel Thy righteousness wrapped around us as our garment and to find shelter and peace for our souls in the refuge of eternity, Thou Rock of Ages. Make us know that thou art here, O God, and let us realize Thy presence in the affairs of our lives. Forgive us where we have sinned. Touch Thou the sick who are listening in and heal them. Visit the prison-bound and bless every burdened soul, and liberate every bound spirit, we ask in Jesus name. Amen. (Prayer = Our Need for Thee – Ralph Mark Gilbert)