(With yesterday’s computer problems, I never did get this written or posted.)
Exodus 25-26 Matthew 20:17-34
“But Jesus said, ‘You don’t understand what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am about to drink?’” (Matthew 20:22 NCV)
Honor was important in Jesus’s day. You wanted to be seen with the right people. You wanted the right seat at the table. You wanted people to know that you were important. So, mom, looking out for her kids, asked Jesus to seat her sons, one on the right, one on the left. Jesus must have had to work not to laugh at her while gently telling her that she didn’t understand the depth of her questioning. While His reign in heaven would certainly have places of honor, He was heading towards dishonor and the cross where He’d have a thief on either side of Him. This request didn’t sit well with the other disciples, who probably looked at James and John incredulously: “Your mommy had to ask for you?” Perhaps they were wondering why they hadn’t thought of that ploy because, after all, who can turn down a mother? Jesus reminded them that they were called to serve, not to find places of honor.
If we were seeing this story at the movies and had never heard the end of the story about Jesus, we’d probably note that this question wasn’t a good idea. You can’t blame a mother for looking out for her kids, but she hadn’t been with Jesus all this time like James, John, and the other disciples had. She hadn’t heard the teachings about serving others instead of seeking honor. We’ve read all the stories. We know the truth. Fortunately, we in the church today are more about service than seeking honor. Perhaps it would be better to say that we honor those who serve. Maybe we should remember our call to serve a whole lot more.
Lord, remind me that You called me to serve You by serving people. When I begin to think too much of myself, find ways for me to serve. Help me remember that You want humble service, not glory grabbing moves.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.