24 August 2010

"The greatest among you must become like the youngest." (v.26)


In the community of God's people rulers should be those who, like Jesus, see themselves as servants and are ready to endure suffering and death on behalf of their master. Today's passage comes immediately after Christ has shared what we have come to call Holy Communion with his friends - the very act that lies at the heart of the life of Christian communities and is a reminder of Jesus' death and life. Jesus stands at the centre of his group of friends and tells them that they will continue what he has begun. He confers on them the kingdom of God so that they can be spiritually fed and become rulers of the 12 tribes of Israel - meaning the Jewish people.

I remember feeling quite shocked as a youngster that Christ's disciples could jockey for attention as described in this passage. As I have grown up I have realised that most of us, at some point in our lives, express the need to be valued and recognised. But instead of taking delight in being content with serving and keeping a lower profile, there are those who seem to crave greater recognition. Waiting for an opportunity to shine can be quite taxing, especially when we feel we have a contribution worthy of acceptance. But this passage encourages us to consider leading from behind, of sitting at the high table yet serving those who need food most.

This is a story which turns the ways of the world on their head! Instead of pulling out all the stops to fast track to the top, we are encouraged here to take delight in service.

To Ponder

From where can you draw confidence and energy to behave counter-culturally to the world?

What ambitions do you aspire to? Do you aim to live as servant or ruler?

Have you time, or the patience, to wait for your opportunity to shine in God's kingdom?

Bible notes author: Margaret Sawyer

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