Greatness in Service

Key Verse: “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.”
—Matthew 20:26

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 18:1-4;

THE ZEAL OF JESUS’ disciples was not always guided properly prior to their receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They asked the Master, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”—Matt. 18:1

Jesus, seeing an opportunity to teach a vital lesson, called a child to him, and said that unless they would become as this child, they would not even enter the kingdom of God, much less have a high position in it. What was it about this child that Jesus identified as so important to his followers? He says in verse 4, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Humility, as personified in a child, must be the very foundation of the Christian character. Without it as a basis, no progress in any other graces can be attained.

A child manifests humility by being teachable and eager to learn. It does not have a conceited attitude, but depends on and appreciates of the love and help of others. It knows no deceitfulness, and views others with no preconceived notions or ideas. Children are innocent and guileless. As God’s children, we must also have these same aspects of humility in our character, if we are to have any part in the heavenly kingdom. So important is this that Jesus said, “Whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”—vs. 5

Shortly after this experience, as Jesus and his disciples made their way to Jerusalem, a similar experience is recorded. The mother of James and John requested that her two sons be granted positions on the right and left hand of Jesus in his kingdom.

Although he was careful not to criticize her for this request, he asked a more important question. Jesus asked whether these two were able to partake of the same cup of experiences—suffering and sacrifice—as he was drinking, and additionally whether they were able to follow his ‘baptism’ into sacrificial death. All those found worthy to be with him in his kingdom must do this. “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.” (Matt. 20:23) The position of sitting on the right hand or the left, was not for Jesus to give, but was for the Father in Heaven to give.

The position of greatness in the kingdom is not to be determined by fallen human principles. In society today, those who seem to have the most success are those who have the most pride, the most selfishness, the deepest commitment to step on and push aside any and all who might be obstacles in their path to greatness. They have the greatest desire to be served by others, and generally very little desire to render service to others themselves. To this attitude Jesus replies, “It shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”—vss. 26,27

Thus we learn that greatness is to be found by humility and service to God, the brethren, and one’s fellowman. Jesus said, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”—vs. 28

Dawn Bible Students Association
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