June 27

Text: Matthew 20:24

And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. (NASB)

Resentment is such a hard master!  We say we are angry with others, but we are actually consumed with self.  “We have been treated unfairly!”  They took advantage of us!”  “I thought they were trusted friends, but they are more concerned about themselves than they are about me!” 

If any of “us” had done the act, it would have been justifiable—even brilliant.  Yet, “their” doing the act was a terrible injustice to me and the others I am concerned about.  How dare “they” pull that stunt!

The problem: The other 10 wanted the same thing James and John wanted!  The problem to them was not that everyone wanted the same thing.  The problem was that the ten thought they had lost.  James and John thought of a way to get what each of the 12 wanted that did not involve the worth or involvement of each person.  Though James and John were to be the beneficiaries who received what everyone wanted, it was actually their family asking for a favor.  The family could ask for a favor James and John dare not request.

Observations: (1) None of the 12 understood Jesus’ lessons about humility, or service, or the first shall be last.  (2) They were so orientated by culture’s values that they could not comprehend God’s character or values.  (3) Their concept of God’s kingdom was in error.  (4) Their following Jesus involved a selfishness unrelated to God’s purposes.  (5) “Faithfulness” involved their concept of winning and losing.  (5) “Devotion” to Jesus involved being (in comparison to other human followers) the best.

In seeking to be God’s people, it is easy to think church is a competition and to feel peeved when we do not get our way.  It is easy to make righteousness about what we want, not about what God wants.

Suggestion for reflection: Serving God is not about human completion.  (Read Luke 13:22-30.)

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