But Jesus summoned them, and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever desires to be first among you shall be your bondservant, even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”–Matthew 20:25-28 (WEB)
I came across this passage today and while I’ve heard it multiple times, a new reality of its’ meaning was made evident to me. I’m still constantly amazed when God impacts my heart in such a way through verses I’ve read many times before.
We often see, even within our congregations, these same types of power struggles. Jesus didn’t say that we should be careful in managing authority. He didn’t say that those with authority would be leaders. He said it shall not be so among us. This wasn’t just a suggestion. Jesus knew and stated the danger of following the world’s power structures. We see this in our institutions today. Jesus stated that leaders would be servants, just as he was, even to the point of laying down their life. Often, I’ve seen worldly leaders pointed to as the deficient party. However, these congregational leaders are following the same template, and seem to be suffering from the same pitfalls.
In addition, we see Jesus talking about how he is the one and only Shepard. However, the Kingdom he ushered in isn’t (yet) a physical kingdom, nor is it built by human hands, but it is a spiritual kingdom (Luke 17:20-21, Philippians 3:20, John 4:23) . Jesus stated he would build the church. However, we see man continually trying to build a physical kingdom through politics and religion. This method hasn’t worked in the past and still doesn’t work today. We only become part of Jesus’ church when we follow him and allow him to build it!