Scripture: Matthew 20:17-28
Key verses: (27-28) And whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Reflection: Following Jesus is hard to do! I like following Jesus when I think about him welcoming the little children (like me), and searching for the lost sheep (sometimes me), and forgiving the sinful (always me). It’s hard when he challenges me to put others before myself. It’s hard when I realize that following Jesus means I’m called to welcome the children and search for the lost sheep and forgive the sinful. I’m called to live like Jesus in the world, not just accept him or believe certain things about him or even worship him.
In today’s passage, the mother of the sons of Zebedee (we know their names are James and John) asked Jesus for a favor. She wanted her sons to have positions of honor and authority when Jesus is seated on the throne in his kingdom. But Jesus cautions that any spiritual authority is only God’s to give and spiritual authority doesn’t come with a fancy seat at the head table. Spiritual greatness comes to those who are servants. Slaves, treated as possessions with no self-agency by others who oppress them, will be first in the kingdom. Why? Because Jesus came to serve and we are invited to follow him.
How will we follow Christ today? Take a few moments to think through the day ahead. How can you take the commitments on your calendar and turn those into opportunities for service? It might be small gestures of kindness toward your friends or your work colleagues. It might be inviting someone else to join you for a virtual church service or for morning prayer on Zoom. It might be taking a moment silently to pray for those whose faces you see today. It might be putting your phone down during a meal so you can have a real conversation. Jesus invites you to be a servant today in ways that will show his generous love to the world.
Prayer: “I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.” Help me to live that decision out in my life today, O Lord. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].