“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Perhaps the “rulers of the nations” he had in mind were the Roman authorities of his day. Perhaps he was thinking of how the people of Israel once wanted to have a king “like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5, 20).
Either way, Jesus said, “Not so with you.”
The ways of God’s King are very different from the ways of human politics and power. This is not a lesson that we find easy to learn. Certainly it is very difficult to practice. However when we see a Christian person following Jesus in this regard (seeking not to be served but to serve) we recognize the goodness of it. And when we see someone behaving like the “rulers of the nations” (seeking to be served) we can often see the ugliness of it.
Every week we hear about ugliness in human politics. Power plays, arrogance, selfish ambition, dishonesty, manipulation, suspicion, greed, cynicism, malice, anger, self-righteousness can all be seen (compare Colossians 3:5-11). No doubt the media has a role in magnifying these things. We do not see much compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, trust, love or forgiveness on display (compare Colossians 3:12, 13). Again, the media may contribute to this perception.
But Jesus said, “Not so with you.”
Jesus calls us to conduct our lives differently from the world around us. This is one of the marvelous blessings to be enjoyed when our treatment of one another is impacted by the One who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
I hope you have (and give) a taste of this in church today.
Your brother in the Lord Jesus Christ
John Woodhouse (Acting Senior Minister)