Kingdom Service is the Lord's Will for US!

August 21, 2011

Kingdom Service is the Lord's Will for US!

Matthew 20:20-28 (Mark 10:35-45)


I read this Biblical account and some thoughts immediately come to mind.

  1. The Apostles think too highly of themselves.
  2. They don’t realize what they are asking for!
  3. They don’t know God’s view of greatness!
  4. We can be those who are “great” in God’s eyes by doing what He tells us qualifies as greatness this morning!


We start with the BIG REQUEST:

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him.

21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She *said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”


What is wrong with this request?

I find it interesting to ask for the two apostles to seat at the right and left hand side of Jesus! 

FIRST thing that comes to my mind is that at God the Father’s right hand side is Jesus and to put the Apostle on the left hand side of Jesus would to put the Apostle between the Father and Son of God.  An exulted position only for the Godhead!

SECOND is Jesus just finished saying He would suffer, die and be raised from the dead.  She (Apostles Mother) didn’t hear these words to the 12 but the sons didn’t stop her either.  She said “in Your Kingdom” (MK 10:37) simply “in Your Glory”!  Not the suffering part but the glory part of life eternal!

THIRD This is Satan’s way of thinking!  (Isaiah 14:12-15)



22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.”


Interesting response.  Jesus begins by asking “Are you able to drink the cup (John 18:11) that I am about to drink?” 

They say “We are able”!  Are they responding to the Words our Lord told them in verses 20:17-19?


Matthew Henry Unabridged:

“See how boldly they engage for themselves; they said, WE are able, in hopes of sitting on his right hand, and on his left; but at the same time they fondly hoped that they should never be tried. As before they knew not what they asked, so now they knew not what they answered. We are able; they would have done well to put in, "Lord, by thy strength, and in thy grace, we are able, otherwise we are not." But the same that was Peter's temptation, to be confident of his own sufficiency, and presume upon his own strength, was here the temptation of James and John; and it is a sin we are all prone to (also)”.

Also by Henry- “We know not what we ask, when we ask for the glory of wearing the crown, and ask not for the grace to bear the cross in our way to it!”


Side Note:

Ecclesiastes 5:2

“Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.”

Simply put, don’t just pray anything you think but think about what you’re going to pray! God answers according to His own Will.


Of course this does not go against Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." or 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "pray without ceasing" because these scriptures are of the heart in need and pouring out to God with the mind.  We read shortly after in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good!" so again the mind is engaged before God!  When we don’t know what to say praise God he intervenes... Romans 8:26-27 “ In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (This may seem like a random thought on prayer but needed to be addressed here because prayer is talking to God)

23 He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”


The CUP of suffering: James first Apostle martyred (Acts 12:2) and John died of old age but we see he suffered for the Kingdom (Rev 1:9).


The other 10 become ANGRY-RESENTMENT sets in:

24 And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers.


Rightly so, they should have been angry by the statement of the two but why were they angry makes a difference.  Was it because they knew this would be offensive words towards God or were they thinking what about me, we want to sit in the Kingdom ruling also! 

`If Jesus didn’t answer we would not know, but He did…


Jesus clears the air with RIGHT-THINKING about GREATNESS:


The Worldly Gentile way

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.


I believe the “them” is all the 12 Apostles to Himself to straighten out the thinking of the Apostles of what it means to be great in the Kingdom of Heaven, HERE AND NOW!


Jesus basically says you know and see the Gentile way of ruling over men!  Their GREAT so called men exercise authority over everyone else!  But the question then, is this our Lord’s way?  HE ANSWERS…



26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave


We know in our world for many the great have fame and fortune!  Who has the most land, most money, greatest rank, prettiest face and body and has the most movies or songs on the radio.  These pursuits do not rank with God!  God tells us clearly who are the greatest in the Kingdom of God…

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave!” 


Oh, what a shift of thinking in their day and our day alike!  To be great is to serve our Lord by serving each other!  What is amazing about God’s way is everyone is capable to serve in some way.  You don’t have to be the riches or smartest or toughest but READY TO SERVE!



28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”


Jesus came with purpose fulfilled!  He came to give His life a ransom for many!  Think of these things to motivate us to serve our Lord…


Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us,

in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust,

so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Hebrews 9:14

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?


Jesus came with purpose fulfilled!  He came to give His life a ransom for many!  And therefore many should be ready to serve Him and His Church out of love for His sacrifice towards us who believe!


Let me end with two thoughts from Charles Spurgeon…

He said, “I think no servant of God is tired of serving his Master.  We may be tired in the service, though not tired of it!”


“He can scarcely be thought to be a Christian, except in name, who lives from week to week with no more spirituality than that which enables him to go sometimes to the house of prayer, but who, neither by his powers nor his gifts nor his time nor by any other means, ever does service to the Lord his God!"                                                                         AMEN!