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Oct 11 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Fifty-nine – Matthew 20:20-28

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. Matthew 20:23-24

Jesus could promise James and John they would drink from his cup of suffering and sorrow, but he could not promise them seats of honor in his kingdom–other than what he had already guaranteed (Mt. 19:28). While he was on the road of the condemned, they were trying to travel the road to greatness (see vv. 117-19).

There was trouble in Jesus’ small community–ten disciples against two. How did they express their indignation? Were voices raised? Were insults thrown back and forth? A rift occurred that broke up the tight team and got each one thinking only of himself. If we assumed that having the perfect leader eliminates internal conflict, we need to think again.

What did Jesus do about this infighting? He redefined what it meant to be great or first in any sort of social group. Until this conversation, the only model of roles and ranking in families, communities, or organizations the disciples knew were those they observed in their world. Without exception, the person with the most power also wielded the most influence and was accorded the greatest honor and the best service.

The structure of worldly systems would prove useless to the disciples. The greatest in Jesus’ kingdom do not ambitiously climb over others, but become servants to everyone else.

O Jesus, our Lord and Savior, thank You for redefining the social constructs that have shaped our thinking. Your model restores unity among us. If acceptance in Your kingdom meant we had to claw our way to the top, few people would make it. But anyone can become a servant. You have redefined our reality. The goals of our brothers and sisters are our concern as well.  Now . . . how can we help?

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