Day 24 - Read the Room

Day 24 - Read the Room

Written by: Nathan Boyd

Matthew‬ ‭20:17-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.””‭‭

Have you ever found yourself in an awkward situation? You or someone that you were with said something that was totally inappropriate for the moment? I have been the victim of a number of these situations over the course of my life. I have had the opportunity to perform a number of weddings and funerals and it is at these tense moments that people will often say or do awkward things. The father-of-the-bride talking about how he wanted to murder his new son-in-law or the eulogy that goes entirely to long and airs all the dirty laundry of the deceased. Life is full of awkward moments.

In today’s devotion, we see two passages of scripture that are sandwiched up next to each other that paint a very awkward moment for some of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus has once again announced that he must go to Jerusalem, be condemned by the priests, flogged, crucified, and eventually raised. This must have been sobering news for his disciples, that the man they had been following for the past three years would soon be murdered. Each disciple has a different reaction to Jesus' prophetic statements. Peter upon hearing this news, in Matthew 16, wants to fight to defend Jesus. But in this passage James and John hear Jesus’ words and then go with their mother to ask if they can sit in a place of authority in Jesus’ kingdom.

People say awkward things when they don’t know what else to say, but it is obvious that these disciples, that had spent considerable time with Jesus, totally missed the lifestyle that Jesus was calling them into. Jesus over the course of his ministry taught them to follow his example and become servants, rather than being served by others. Again and again the disciples had been told to resist the places of honor, fame, and prestige, and instead choose to think of others as better than themselves. Somehow these two brothers missed the centrality of Jesus’ message and instead begged for a cabinet position in Jesus’ new kingdom.

It is easy to get so wrapped up in life and consumed with desire that we too miss Jesus’ calling for our lives and instead ask for something that Jesus never intended to give. In our culture today, we are bombarded with the message of making ourselves great and striving to achieve more authority and power. However, the way of Jesus is not striving after these things but rather willingly submitting to the Father’s will and choosing the lifestyle of a servant.

Jesus finishes his conversation with these wayward disciples by saying, ““It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.””

Let us strive to be like Jesus and become a servant rather than believing that others should serve us.

Today, go out of your way to serve someone. This could be a spouse, one of your children, a teacher, a co-worker, or a complete stranger. Go above and beyond to follow the example of Jesus and serve people the way that he would.

Jesus we thank you that you didn’t come to earth to be served but to serve. Help me today to lovingly serve others the way that you would.