“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” (Mark 10:43)
It’s an astonishing statement, that in order to be great, you must be a servant. We don’t understand. All of our lives are spent in constant pursuit of personal achievement. We’re taught that we need to really try to be something. Goals are set and achieved. Awards are won. Recognitions and prizes are handed out. We think that we’ve become great if we have made a name for ourselves and climbed to the top of the pyramid.
The disciples obviously thought that Jesus was destined for something big. They thought that He would be the one to restore peace to Israel by leading a political movement. They wanted in on the glory! They wanted their friend Jesus to remember them when He sits on the throne! Maybe a cabinet position would get thrown their way. They think like we do. Greatness and glory are things to be achieved by winning all sorts of contests.
But they know not what they ask. They cannot bear the burden that Jesus will bear. He is indeed great, but not because He has achieved popular support or fame. He is great, because He has become the servant of all. He has borne the sin of the world upon His shoulders, and taken it all to the cross and grave. The sin of the world was nailed to the cross in the death of Christ (Colossians 2:14). This is true greatness. He suffered everything for us, ultimately serving us by giving us His very life, and in so doing, has given us to share with Him in His glory, His death and resurrection.
Praise we Him, whose love divine
Gives His sacred blood for wine,
Gives His body for the feast,
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.
Alleluia! Amen and Amen!
(“At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” LSB 633, st.4)