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Study to Grow


By Doug Bell

Matthew 20:

25 “But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.

26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

*****


This conversation began when James and John’s Mother came to Jesus and ask if her two sons might sit on the Left and right of Jesus throne in His Kingdom. While not answering her, Jesus turns to her two sons and ask if they can share in his sufferings (drink of the same cup). They assured Him they could and Jesus promised them they would (Tradition holds that all the Apostles except for John suffered a martyr’s death). Then Jesus explained to them what they were asking for was not His to give, that was reserved for the Father!


We Christians are to have a perspective on things that is different than the World (Humanism). In fact, many of the basic teachings of the Bible are in direct conflict to Earthly beliefs. This is one reason why Christians are criticized for our beliefs on Marriage, Homosexuality, and Abortion (to name a few). While the World is free for “Everyone to do what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 25:21), Christian’s have the Word of God to dictate what we are to believe and how we are to conduct ourselves in this World.

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Which brings to our verses above. Jesus began by saying the World has one way of doing things.

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them...”


Worldly leaders dominate in a dictatorial style, with carnal power. Their whims are fulfilled by those they rule over. Even in America, while we have a “representative” style congress. It is no longer looked upon as a ‘Calling’ for service, but most see it as a ‘profession.’ And sadly, many more only care about the money or power they will gain.


*****

But Jesus tells Christians: “It shall not be so among you.” As our Sunday School lesson today showed us, we are not to imitate the World, but put it to death!

Colossians 3:

1 ¶ “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 ¶ Put to death therefore what is earthly in you...”

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We do this by looking to, and listening to Jesus teachings in the Bible. How does He say we are to Lead others in Church?


26 ...”It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,

27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.”


And what does this mean: ‘to be great ... one must become the servant. The first... must become the slave?’


The other ten disciples were indignant that James and John had connived behind their backs to get greater positions of honor! And we see that All of them were concerned about competition, personal rights, and had a disinterest in Grace.

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But We, (like the disciples) must see all the New Testament’s teaching through the lens of “redemptive history,” I.e., What God in Christ has done to save us from our sins. Being recipients of Grace, we must become examples of Grace!


28 “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Here is True Leadership. “Do as I say, and do as I do.” Scriptures teach us that Jesus came as ‘Emmanuel,’ God in the flesh (Mt. 1:23). Yet, though He was God, He emptied Himself and became a servant, to save us!


Phillipians 2:

5 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”


Sometimes living the Christian Life, feels like we are living here in a ‘Bizarro’ World (Superman fans will understand). Still, We are to follow our Lords example (1 Peter 2: 21-25).

  • The First are Last

  • The great become servants, and

  • The first must become your slave.




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