Posted by: duncandrews | May 4, 2009

So, you want to be great? III

Closing the door behind him, Simon Peter could feel the tension hanging thick in the air. He turned to Jesus, received a nod, and sat down on the spare bed. It sunk under his weight – a broken spring perhaps.


As Jesus began to speak to them, however, the tension seemed to dissolve. He said just the right thing, at just the right time. It seemed he had a knack for that.

“You know those who think themselves rulers over the gentiles lord it over them” Jesus said. “Their ‘great ones’ exercise authority over them. But, it shall not be so among you.”

Peter saw the Teacher’s face lift, his mouth twitch into a faint smile, his eyes almost sparkle as they did when he would speak of things close to his heart.

“No,” Jesus continued, “it shall not be so among you. Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many!”


It’s tempting to think of Jesus’ words here as a rebuke to his disciples. They wanted greatness, but being Jesus’ follower meant lowliness, not greatness; service, not status. Stop wanting to be great, we expect Jesus to say. Greatness, frankly, is not for Christians – our lot is to be ‘slave of all’, like it or lump it.

But Jesus doesn’t squash his disciples’ desire for greatness. He instead attempts to reshape, reframe their whole concept of what greatness actually is. “You want to be great?” Jesus says, “Well, good! Be great! But just make sure you understand what true greatness is. Don’t buy in, like everyone else, to the world’s ideas of greatness – of status and authority and money. Be great. Be ambitious for greatness! Just know what, in God’s economy, real, powerful greatness is.”

Series so far: i, ii, iii


  1. […] Series so far: i, ii, iii […]

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