But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.”
— Matthew 20:25–26 —
Oscar Villa: The Expositor’s Academy | Philippines
How did Jesus transform the way His disciples thought about ministry? In Israel at this time, the Jews lived under Gentile rulers who were known to forcefully overpower and subdue others. Jesus’ disciples saw how power, prominence, and rank made leaders great in the eyes of the people. When the disciples began to follow Jesus, they brought into the ministry these ideas regarding position, influence, and authority. How should Jesus’ words and work change the way you think and go about your ministry? They thought that being Jesus’ first disciples meant that they were entitled to privileged and powerful positions (Matt. 20:21). Jesus identified their sinful tendency to conform Christian ministry to the world’s selfish and self-centered system. He told them that dominating others and wielding authority was incompatible with what His disciples were to do. In stark contrast to their craving for position and power was Jesus’ call to selflessness in servanthood (Matt. 23:1–12). He exemplified this servanthood in His submission to God’s will (Matt. 12:18), suffering and dying as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). Many today have allowed the world to shape ministry. Many Filipino pastors have made corporate giants their standard of success, and leaders of industry their exemplars of leadership. Some view their ministries like businesses, running their local churches like corporations. There are workers whose shelves are filled with books by authors who have no biblical foundations. Some seminary students pursue theological training because they crave the recognition and respect of others. How much of your thinking about the ministry has been shaped by the world? How should Jesus’ words and work change the way you think and go about your ministry? Will you embrace the privilege to serve others?