The mother of two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, came to Jesus one day, bringing them with her. Bowing low before Him, she asked a favor– that her two sons would be granted the seats of honor and authority in Jesus’ Kingdom, one on His right and one on His left.
After telling them they did not know what they were asking for, and assuring them that they would, indeed, drink from the same bitter cup of suffering that He Himself must drink, Jesus said that the place of honor on His right hand and His left hand, in His Kingdom, was not His decision but His Father’s.
The other ten disciples were indignant with James and John; one can only imagine the argument that followed. “Just who do you two think that you are!”
But Jesus called them all 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. 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.” Matthew 20:25-28 NLT
As the prophet relayed the words of God to Israel long ago, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways.”
We see it everywhere in this world, men scheming for power and influence over others, exercising their will over others, seeking to be served by others.
Yet Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, all powerful, worthy of all worship and service, quietly laid all of that aside. None could know, except by revelation from God, that the baby in the stable was the Creator of all. None could know that the lowly carpenter who spent 30 years in Nazareth before starting a teaching and healing ministry was actually God’s Son; that if they could actually see Him in His real state, none could stand upright in His presence. None could know that He, so pressed by sick and demon-possessed people desperate for healing that He had no time to so much as eat as He healed them all, had thousands of angels standing ready for a single word of command from Him.
And Jesus says to His disciples, “Be like me. Seek to serve rather than to rule, to lay down your life that many may live.”