Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Matthew 20 – Who Will Be "The Greatest"?

The mother of James and John asked Jesus to place one son at his right hand and the other on the left when he came into his Kingdom. Sensing a wide disconnect between the disciples’ ambitious self-entitlement and what He knew the recipient of this honor must first endure, Jesus laid out the qualifications for sitting on his right and left hand in Glory:
1.       Disqualifier:
-          criticizing God’s grace and favor shown to others (v. 16)
-          Lording authority over others (25-26)

2.       Doesn’t matter:
-          Length of service (v. 12)

3.       Qualifier:
-          Drink the cup that Jesus would drink: betrayed, mocked, flogged and crucified (v. 19)
-          Be a servant (26)
-          Be a slave (27)
-          Give your life so that others would be delivered (28)
An employment ad might read:
"WANTED: Two persons to sit at right and left hand of Jesus in His Kingdom. Numerous years of ministry experience not essential. Applicant must not seek any worldly power or authority. Must be a servant and/or slave and eventually be betrayed, mocked, flogged and crucified, doing all with a loving willingness to give one's life to deliver others."
Here I am Lord, send me!
Honestly now - that is just NOT me. I'd be a better candidate for the Russian women's gymnastic team. But - at the risk of sounding howlingly hypocritical to those who know me all too well, I pray, "Lord, lead me, your servant to the world around me - show me the next thing you want me to do, and then show me the next thing after that. I rely on your gracious direction and empowerment to drink the cup you want me to drink, be it sweet or bitter." 

So, who WILL sit at His right or left hand?

Maybe an American slave who willingly suffered beatings at the hands of his pious slavemaster that in the twisted "law" of the plantation deserved to go to another slave who hated him - and did it because it's what he thought King Jesus wanted him to do.

Maybe a Moslem or Hindu who trusted Christ knowing she would be burned to death, and died in the flames forgiving the family members reviling her as she endured their torment.

Maybe a Rich Young Man who gave his money away and spent the rest of his shortened life on the street, begging food and washing floors and giving away his time, talent, treasure, status and comfort to street people who called him a fool, except for the few who were delivered from Satan's grasp into the Kingdom of Light. 

I guess we'll find out.

1 comment:

  1. This note from Tim Steiner of Isle LaMotte -

    On brother Peter's: Yes, the devil is a user-friendly theologian.

    On the cost of company with Jesus: I have been told that a martyr does not mean only someone who has died physically for Jesus, which, of course, it does, but also that is simply means a witness. A witness is someone who has been with and is with the Lord and setting the example of his life by his or her life....living martyrdom, the cost of being granted places of honor in his kingdom.