Their mom, no doubt, had the best of intentions but little understanding of what she wanted (Matthew 20:20-28). She wanted the best seats in the house for her boys. That request agitated their contemporaries but provided a teaching opportunity for the Lord. True greatness in the eyes of God is far different than the way that we see it. It was show and tell time. He not only taught; He demonstrated.
Jesus came to serve. That is unnatural. In fact, it is supernatural. The One who put it all in motion to begin with did not come to be catered to by His own creation. Human models will never convey such a system, but this does not originate in a board room. This is an eternal perspective, and that turns everything on its head. Servants are at the top of the pecking order. Slaves shine brightly. God the Son showed it. He did not just pay lip service. He led the way. Watch Me. I will show you.
He gave His life. His concern was not self-fulfillment but self-sacrifice. He exchanged His place in glory (John 17:5) for a manger. Born among the animals and growing up as a carpenter’s son is hardly the lifestyle of the rich and famous. It is more like that of the poor and anonymous. That anonymity would not last long. He turned heads in His preteen years with His depth of understanding (Luke 2:47). Little did they know that He was a Savior in a kid’s body. In less than two decades he would be executed. That is why He was here.
He came to offer Himself. Sin had snarled up the creation. The crowning achievement of the Creator had been tarnished beyond recognition. Sinners were held hostage by an inhuman master, and the bounty had to be paid before the condition turned eternal. The wages of sin, you know. Liberation from the death sentence was no small matter. Nothing short of the perfect sacrifice would do, and He was on a mission to offer just that. Kidnap victims need the ransom to be paid. He picked up the check.
It is as natural as breathing for a mom to want the best for her kids. That quest for prominence for the two sons of Zebedee opened everyone’s eyes to a new reality, a different standard by which to measure our existence. Servitude and sacrifice just like Jesus are what constitute true greatness. It is a rare combination that few will embrace, but God is saving a seat for those who do.
Call to Praise scripture: Genesis 1:1-2
His word on it: John 1:1
Sermon: “In the Beginning”