Jesus called [his disciples] together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles 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 your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
With great power comes great … privilege? That’s what the disciples James and John thought. They believed that following Jesus entitled them to great privilege. They wanted first dibs on the seats of honor next to Jesus in his kingdom. They knew that Jesus was going to be a great king, but they didn’t understand how Jesus would establish his kingdom.
Jesus reached glory through humility. His glory is his humble service. In greatest humility God stepped down from his throne in heaven to lie in a manger. He demanded no service from anyone but spent every moment of his life in service to us. The One who demands perfection from us became the One who lived perfectly for us. The eternal God exchanged the voice of angels singing, “Holy, holy, holy!” for the cries of an angry mob yelling, “Crucify, crucify, crucify!”
Jesus took the blame for what we did wrong so that we might receive the credit for all that he did well—and he did everything well. He suffered our hell so that he could give us a seat at his table in heaven. By his resurrection from the dead, Jesus has given his followers power over death too.
With great power comes great responsibility. Power over death doesn’t give us license to lord ourselves over others. We don’t think we are better than we really are. We put the needs of others before our own. We live to serve. And in doing so, we bring glory not to ourselves, but to him who served us by giving his life as a ransom for our sins.
Dearest Jesus, thank you for humbling yourself to suffer and die for my sins. I don’t deserve the new life that I have in you. Help me to put aside my selfishness and to imitate your selflessness with a life of service and sacrifice. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.