Service and the Cross

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NLT)

Jesus’ disciples were a needy bunch who the Lord pointed to a life of service epitomized by the Cross as the solution for their needs.

The Mother of the disciples, James and John once asked Jesus a simple question. She asked him if her boys could be at his right and left side when he came into his Kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21. She wasn’t asking much—only that one could be the Assistant Savior and the other the Associate Lord. Only a Jewish Mother could ask such a question.

The other disciples overheard the conversation and were indignant, probably because they also wanted those positions (Matthew 20:24). So, you get the picture, selfishness, resentment, and envy still reigned in the hearts of the men closest to Jesus. How would Jesus address these issues?

In our scriptural reference, he pointed them to a life of service that would begin and end with the Cross. The Cross was the ultimate act of service. Discipleship happens when we take up our cross and follow him. There is always a sacrificial aspect to service. When Jesus was performing many miracles or feeding the multitudes, he had the masses following him—when he started talking about cross-bearing, many turned away. Such is still true today.

Jesus did not seem overly concerned about the needy state of his disciples at this time. He knew there was a future event coming that would address the condition of his disciples’ hearts—his death on Mount Calvary. Envy, jealousy, and selfishness are never wished, willed, or even taught away; they only die when nailed to that old, rugged Cross.

The image is used with permission from Microsoft.

Ken Barnes is the author of “Broken Vessels,” published in February 2021, and “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” published by YWAM Publishing in 2011.

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