For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45

 The story is found in Mark 10:35-45 where James and John, sons of Zebedee, went to Jesus, asking if they may sit beside Him when He becomes glorified. All of the disciples were expecting that Jesus will overthrow the Roman government to replace it with His. And so these two men wanted to secure their position in the new kingdom when that happens. When the other ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with James and John. Jesus then starts to illustrate what is truly in their minds. He exposed the true motives of their self-seeking hearts.

And then Jesus speaks of a sharp contrast of what He expects them to do. He said that those who want to be great must become a servant of all. A paradigm shift also transpired by telling them that even He (being the Son of Man) did not desired to be attended, but chose to give service, that He may put the toll on Himself and make His action become a once-and-for-all effort for others.

Why is it that the ten began to be displeased with James and John? Was it because of the two men’s bold request to assure a position so that they can be a master over them? Is it because of their anxiousness of being left behind? Or is it because of their yearning for glory and recognition that conforms to a worldly perspective?

Whatever the reason may be, only one thing is for sure. They want to become sovereign. They want to be something so that they can rule over everything. After all, who would want to take the low road? They all wanted to elevate themselves because they were tired of being seen as second class citizens in their country.

But being a servant?  The world’s system has convinced us that being a servant is the lowest rank that one can have in life. Most of us want to reign. We don’t want to be on the side lines of life. We want to become rulers in life. We crave for superiority.

But Jesus saw things in a different way. He was proposing a different concept from theirs – from this world’s norm. True greatness in His standard is measured by how you give your life rather than what you’ve gained in life. It is quantified by how you have served others and not by how many people are serving you. It is not enumerated by the titles that the world may tag on you but by how you respond to others that brings impact to your world.

Jesus encouraged His disciples not to pursue superiority and be attached to it. He taught of a kind of humility that opens the avenue to demonstrate His love by becoming a servant. Like Him who left His throne in the heavens for the sake of us.

 His message until now still remains true for us. Life becomes definitive when we are defined by what we’re ruling over. But life becomes purposive when we become mandated by the One whom we’re serving. God uses small tools to perform large tasks. And living for Him entails a calling to be servants, not sovereigns. 

Written By: Aaron Teodosio