Updated: Apr 16
By Rev'd Jackie Twine Matt 20: 17-28
People always push to get the best don’t they. They want the most important jobs, the best cars, the best houses, the most money. And not just tangible things. People push to get the fame and the glory and the power. Let’s not forget the power.
And we see that with this woman. Probably called Salome, possibly the sister of Mary, or the sister of Mary’s husband Joseph. Here she is pushing to get the glory for her sons James and John. And asking Jesus if her boys can take pride of place in his kingdom.
And when the other disciples heard this, they were seriously hacked off that James and John might be getting the top jobs, the fame and the glory. Just like we can get hacked off when someone has something or is asked to do something, or is offered something, that we wanted for ourselves. They were insecure. Which made them jealous and resentful. And worried that they might be missing out.
But Jesus is the great leveller. No he says, you still don’t get it. Following me isn’t about the power and the glory, the fame and the fortune, being important. It’s the opposite. If you want to know greatness in my kingdom, you have to serve others. If you want to come first, you have to place yourself last. You don’t get to push for the best. Quite the opposite. You offer your best to others. And know there might be a cost.
I don’t know about you, but on Thursday evening at 8 o'clock, John and I stood outside our front door and applauded those who are doing just that. The doctors, the nurses, the shop assistants, the carers, the police, the emergency services, the delivery drivers, and many others that I’ve left out. These guys who, whether they know it or not, are following in the painful footsteps of Jesus by offering their best to others, knowing they might well have to pay the cost.
And we can do that too. Put ourselves last by following the advice we’ve been given. Put ourselves last by being generous and kind. Put ourselves last by setting time aside each day and praying for all who we applauded, as well as praying for our loved ones and ourself. And I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing people putting themselves last all over the place, and community and kindness, and indeed, the kingdom of God is growing as a result.
Putting ourself last doesn’t mean we don’t count. Quite the opposite. And it doesn’t mean we don’t matter. We do. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take care of ourself, you should. But the truth is this. That we who are so secure in the love of Jesus, and in the knowledge of the blessings and rewards he has for us in this kingdom and the one which is to come, can afford to ditch jealousy and resentment. And offer to others our best. Matt 20: 17-28