Walking in Truth Devotional Update
May I Sit at Your Right Hand?
Matt. 20:20-28; Mk. 10:35-45
As a parent, I can appreciate the mother of James and John asking Jesus to allow her sons to sit on either side of Him when He came into His kingdom. She wanted the best for them as any loving parent wants for his/her children.
However, some have suggested that Matthew and Mark contradicted each other since Matthew tells us that it was the mother of James and John that asked Jesus, while Mark mentioned only that James and John asked Jesus.
It is often said that the Gospel accounts are not contradictory, but complementary and this is another example, I believe. It is possible that Matthew and Mark simply recorded the same event but focused on different individuals. It is possible also that James and John approached Jesus with their mother to ask such an important question. The fact that the discussion between Jesus and the two brothers following the initial question is virtually identical in both books, there is no contradiction.
This story reminds us of the argument the disciples had regarding who would be the “greatest” (Mark 9:34). Apparently, they didn’t learn anything from the Lord’s teaching at that time, because here two disciples are again concerned about greatness in the kingdom of the Lord. However, there was a third time (Luke 22:24). Upon that occasion Jesus taught humility and service and the key to greatness in His kingdom by washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:4-17). Here is something wonderful. Jesus, God the Word, in heaven left all of that to come to earth to serve the needs of mankind through suffering and death.
Whether we like to admit it or not, this problem is seen over and over among God’s people today. Do you remember the game we use to play as children called, “king of the hill”? Somebody would occupy a position and the rest would try to knock or push him/her off and take the position to be king. Well we find such attitudes in the church. It may be an elder, preacher, deacon or some member who is rich or someone with a great education. In 67 years of preaching I have seen it all, I think. But, one of the things I have enjoyed about the Walnut Street church is the lack of any such efforts to either promote or seek such greatness. Along with three excellent elders and deacons we have brethren from every walk of life, and it is a real joy to see how the brethren work together and assist one another and strive for the glory of God.
Back to our study, James and John did not ask to be servants but for honor and position of power. Jesus asked the disciples “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” He questions them as to whether they realized the high price that would have to be paid to be counted worthy of the position they were seeking. They will have to be able to “drink the cup” that Jesus was about to drink. So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.” Jesus is completely submissive to the Father and will not usurp the divine order in any way. This is also a reminder that all that we get from God is according to His grace.
When the other disciples heard about the request of James and John they were indignant concerning the two brothers because they saw them seeking an advantage over them. I am not sure the others were not as guilty. “But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Jesus does not require more than he is willing to give. He modeled service and sacrifice from cradle to grave. While in the form of God, he “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:5-8). This is the great lesson we must all learn.
What are you striving for in the Kingdom of the Lord, the greatest Kingdom in all the history of mankind?
If you know of someone who would benefit from this devotional list please refer them to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you choose to unsubscribe please send an email with unsubscribe in the subject to email@example.com