Who’s the Greatest in God’s Kingdom?
Steve Downs, Executive Pastor
July 15, 2014
How does the world define greatness? Most would say power, position, abilities, wealth, etc. What’s interesting is this is so completely opposite from what Jesus described as greatness in His Kingdom.
Jesus addressed this very issue with His disciples in Matthew 20:20-28. In this passage, the mother of James and John, two of the disciples, asked Jesus to grant her sons positions of favor in His coming Kingdom. This ignited a firestorm amongst the disciples concerning who would have power, position and authority in the Kingdom.
Jesus used this as a teaching moment for His disciples. He told them that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over people. He went on to say in Matthew 20:26, “Not so with you. Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” Wow, what a contrast compared to what the world teaches and promotes. Greatness in the Kingdom of God does not come from rulership or authority, but through service. The most esteemed in the coming Kingdom will be those who serve with humble hearts.
Jesus continued in the passage by using Himself as the ultimate example of this Kingdom principle. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus tells the disciples, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” A short time later Jesus gave His disciples a first-hand visual example of this servant hood standard when He washed their feet during the Last Supper (John 13: 1-17). The incarnate God of the Universe stooped down to perform one of the lowliest tasks in the culture of that day – washing the feet of His closest friends. Washing feet was usually performed by the lowliest servant in the household. Jesus told His disciples to follow His example and make serving others one of their highest priorities.
This Kingdom principle still stands true for us today. Jesus proclaimed this truth several times in the days before His death and he gave us a first-hand example to follow by washing the feet of His disciples. So, how are you doing in the area of serving? Whose feet are you going to wash today?