"...whoever wants to be 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 man." -- Matthew 20:26-28
As Mandy and I read through this passage this morning, I was struck by a number of things regarding these words of Christ. Firstly, this is such a strange way of viewing the world. The idea that in order to be first, you must be last, or that in order to be the greatest, you must be a slave, is so opposite of the picture we usually see. The beauty of American capitalism is that each person can pull themselves up out of the pit, but usually this involves pushing someone else in as we climb out. We are trained from a young age to "get ours, while the gettin's good," to only worry about #1. But the message of Jesus is one of servanthood. Scripture actually teaches that the best possible life will come through service to others, not from looking out for ourselves.
The passage has an even deeper meaning to it than that though. The phrase "Son of Man" was a phrase that was used to talk about Caesar, the Emperor of Rome. We can all picture the lavish lifestyle of the Caesar, one filled will hundreds of servants, waiting on him hand and foot. So Jesus' message becomes one of opposition to this kind of lifestyle. It's a political message. It's a message that would eventually get him killed. Jesus is saying that the true Son of Man would not be like that, but would be a servant to all. The true Son of Man would put others before himself. The true Son of Man would get serious about saving the world he claims to be a in charge of.
Some get 'up at arms' when the church gets too political. Maybe if the true Body of Christ, the people of God, would get a little more political, we could change the world. Now I'm not only talking about elections and government. Being political means having a desire to change entire systems of oppression that don't exist for God and the good of humanity. What can you do, as a follower of Christ, to change the world? How can you make an impact?