We All Have Attitude

Matt. 20:24   When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”


The mother of James and John had just come to Jesus and asked whether her sons could have a special place in the new kingdom. Of course, she didn’t really understand the ramifications of what she was asking, for she didn’t have any idea what Jesus’ kingdom would be like. The kingdom of God is far different than the kingdoms of this world, and this new and alternative society would prove a challenge to conventional values. 

The reaction of the ten is just as noteworthy as that of the other two. They are angry because they themselves were concerned about hierarchical structures and positions. Had they not, they wouldn’t have been upset. Just as the first two had their mother seek out a place of privilege for them, so the others were just as carnal because they were angered by their lack of potential position as a result of the conversation. None of them understood the upside down nature of the kingdom and they all had a bad attitude.

Jesus brings them all together in a unifying act and exposes the fact that they all have a bad attitude. Suddenly there is no longer a division among the disciples but a realization that they are all in need of a lesson from their master. Jesus’ kingdom will be like no other. The power structures of this world will be decimated and those who are called to be leaders will actually be called to be servants. And Jesus, himself, would become the example for them all. 


It’s so easy to point a finger at James and John in this story and say that they are the ones with the bad attitude. It’s far too easy to overlook the fact that the rest of them had an attitude as well. It’s far to common to look at someone else and be “concerned” by their attitude without realizing that we may be a part of the problem. The reality was that all of the disciples had an attitude problem and Jesus realized it. He brought them together to deal with them all because finger pointing was simply going to cause division among his followers. 

Pointing fingers at others will probably only end in disappointment. We cannot point fingers at others and ignore what is going on in our own lives. Our frustration with others may be rooted in our own unChristlike attitudes. 

Servanthood in the kingdom may just begin with an examination of our own attitudes. If we are called to serve, then finger pointing is not allowed and in humility we rejoice in what God does in the lives of others. 


Lord, please help me to serve you faithfully in your kingdom. Amen.


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