Matthew 20:20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 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." 22 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." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Yesterday we looked at a mother who wanted the best for her sons, which she thought was to be in the highest authority position that ruled over all the disciples of Jesus and the world. Jesus told her she didn't know what she was asking. The two sons did not know how unqualified they were for the position their mother sought for them. Today we will look at the reaction of the ten disciples when James' and John's mother asked Jesus to have her sons rule over them.
The ten disciples who heard the mother's request were indignant. Indignant means to feel or show annoyance at what is perceived to be unfair treatment. Synonyms are: angry, disgruntled, annoyed, offended, irritated, and cross. The disciples were really upset about the request for the two brothers. Why were they upset? Would you be upset if your co-equal fellow workers sought to be put in charge of you? Our world says that the one in power is better or more successful than the ones they rule over or manage.
Jesus saw the indignation and put it to rest with the truth. Jesus told His disciples how the rulers in the world lord it over people and are called great. Jesus said that under God's rule the great people are people who serve and that whoever would be first among people must be their slave. He gave Himself as an example; "Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give Himself as a ransom for many." (See John 13:1-17 to see one way Jesus modeled a servant atititude
The Apostle Paul applied the truth of serving to relieve conflict in the Philippian church when He wrote; "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." Whether God has placed us in a leadership position or not, He has instructed us to serve people and not expect to be served. "Who made me your slave?" can be said indignantly when another has promoted themselves over us. The truthful answer to that question is, "God." Indignation is a warning signal to stop and go to Jesus to be repaired. Are you using your God-given position to serve?