25 July 2015

Mathew 20:20-28

“Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (vv. 26-28)

Psalm: Psalm 126


The mother of the sons of Zebedee comes to plead their case as deserving of a place at Jesus's side when the kingdom comes. At one level, perhaps, this appeal on behalf of their zeal for revolutionary/religious change is some reward for their loyalty and hardship. Jesus' first response is to ask her and her sons whether they really understand what this might mean in terms of their sacrifice (verse 22), but then he takes it further saying that even the value of martyrdom is not what is at issue here (verse 24).

There is no pride in sacrifice, death or conflict, but whosoever becomes the most humble, becoming a servant to the others. The last shall become first in God's sight.

To Ponder

  • These words of Jesus are so well known and yet turn our understanding of the worldly view of worth and excellence on their heads.
  • How open are you to these 'kingdom values'?
  • And honestly, how difficult do you find it even to deny a sense of pride of being ever more humble than someone else? 

Bible notes author

The Revd Michael Sawyer

Michael Sawyer is the minister of the Chelsea Methodist Church and Fulham Methodist Church. He was previously minister of Shepherd's Bush Road Methodist Church.