35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[d] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[e] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:35-45).”
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The disciples were indignant. I doubt for the right reason though. James and John wanted to sit at the right hand of Christ and rule with him. There was something about the culture they grew up in. There was something about the Roman way of life and this idea of positional authority. The lines of authority in Roman command ran strong. Everyone answered to someone above them, except for the emperor. That is what they saw in kingdom leadership.
The idea of servant leadership was strange. It isn’t a foreign idea to us today, only because of the Christian influence in our culture. That is why Jesus had to explain it to them, and he spoke of the Roman chain of command. Jesus asks them plainly, “Can you go through what I am going to go through for this?” They said, “Yes.” He agreed but didn’t agree to the positions they were asking for. They probably felt ripped off a little.
Jesus goes on to explain that to be great you must be a servant. To be the absolute best, you must be a slave. If you want to lead someone, don’t ask anything of someone that you are not willing to do yourself. If you are going to lead people, they need to see your boots on the ground too. You must be a servant. The Kingdom is an upside down kingdom. The greatest leaders serve everyone else. You must serve, not looking for anything in return and you must do it for an audience of one. God sees you! That is servant leadership.
So, what is the difference between worldly leadership and Christian leadership? Christian leaders are servant leaders. The greatest leader gave it all. He was willing to die for us. The apostles suffered brutal deaths after him. They followed his lead. Without their willingness to die, would Christianity have even spread? But, people saw they truly believed. God’s name is lifted up through the daily sacrificing of ourselves.
To be a Christian leader, is to be a servant leader, and the greatest is to be a slave.
Thank you for Reading!
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