Jeremiah 18:18-20; Matthew 20:17-28
Anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant
Chasing Illusory Greatness
As far as we know we find only a cow and an ass on either side of Jesus in the beginning of his life; at the end, two thieves! They were given that grace without asking for it.
When James and John asked for the right and the left seats to the throne, Jesus said something highly significant: “You do not know what you are asking.” They were fighting for seats that did not exist or were too dangerous! Their desire hinged on a misconception of the ‘kingdom’ and of the ‘authority’. Later, when the two brothers understood the real meaning of God’s Kingdom, they must have felt foolish to have asked for the seats. At times, we can build up an entirely illusory world of ambition! What is ‘greatness’ and ‘power’? The Gospel is the most subversive document ever written; it undermines all our structures of power, superiority, authority and wealth! It turns the world upside down!
Master and Servant?
Some one tends $100 to a shopkeeper, and the other gives him goods worth that amount! Of these, who is superior, the customer or the shopkeeper? Obviously, they both are equal, in as much as one gives an amount and the other returns the same in kind.
Now let us consider an employer and his employee. The employer gives a salary and the employee returns it by labour worth that amount. Who is superior of the two? Why is the former called ‘Master’, and the latter a ‘servant’? Often the contrary is true, in as much as the labour of the employee is worth much more than the salary the employer gives. If at all one of them is a benefactor or superior, it is the labourer!
Christians are only “pagans” as long as they hold on to unjust concepts of high and low, superior and inferior, servant and master. Alas such caste systems are hard to die even from among the closest disciples of the Lord.