Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
What kind of wants make it to your top ten list? What are the things that you want more than anything else?
Are they things you can touch? Cars? Houses? Land? Boats? Children? Grandchildren? Or are they things you can’t quite touch: job, position, title, power, prestige, reputation?
The disciples had been fighting over these things. James and John had gone to Jesus, asking to be his number one and two men in his coming kingdom. And the other ten didn’t take it very well, causing dissension and fighting.
God’s perspective is so very different from ours. Rather than wanting to push and shove ourselves into positions and prominence, Jesus says that our biggest desire must focus on being a servant. This desire, this “wanting” to be a servant is to be our constant focus and goal, actively taking place each and every day.
Jesus is the ultimate model for this. He’s eternal God and king from eternity past. And what did he do?
· He didn’t come in a parade down Main Street, but came down a dusty back road so his parents could pay taxes.
· He didn’t come to Rome, the most modern and influential city of its day, his parents came to a small, insignificant village and camped out in a cave.
· He didn’t come to rich and powerful parents, he came to poor parents that had no money, position, or power, who had to work with their hands to earn money for bread.
Jesus says that the highest achievement in life, our greatest gift of obedience to God is to be a servant each and every day. We’re told by our culture to scrape and claw our way to the top, not caring who we step over. Who we step on. Who we have to destroy. But Jesus says that our greatest achievements in life, our greatest good comes through serving other people.
This is no pie-in-the-sky theory, it’s as real as it can get. This isn’t some empty spiritual talk by some seer or prophet. This is the truth about real reality from the God who made everyone and everything.
· How desperately do you want real success in life?
· What are you willing to do to excel in life?
· What are you ready to give up for the absolute best in life?
Jesus not only talks a good game, but he also lives it. He not only talks the talk, but most definitely walks the walk. When he describes his personal “best life ever” it’s not in terms of things, it’s in terms of serving and giving.
If anyone in the history of mankind deserved to be served, it was Jesus. But he came not to be served but to serve. But with Jesus, it doesn’t stop with service. There’s something more.
He came to give his life as a ransom, as a payment for people like you and me. This payment wasn’t for some minor parking violation or speeding ticket. It wasn’t paying our credit card statement. It was in payment for something greater, something more precious, something deeper. He was going to pay our deepest, darkest debt to God.
We rebelled and continue to rebel. Turning our backs on God. Doing our own thing. And we became slaves to our own selves. Our own desires. We put ourselves in front of God and told him to take a back seat while we drove our own lives.
This made us addicts to ourselves. Slaves against God and chained to our own, selfish selves. We were powerless to release ourselves or pay the price for our freedom.
But that’s why Jesus came, to break the chains that we had made, but could not break. To pay the price we could not pay.
When someone is kidnapped, they can’t pay the ransom. Someone else must not just get the money together, but someone else has to deliver it. Jesus does both: he’s the payment and the deliverer. He delivered himself up to the cross for us.
Isn’t that the kind of God you want? Not one who tells you to pay for yourself with guilt and shame. Where you have to do all kinds of things to pay him back for everything you’ve done? And not knowing if you’ve ever done enough. But instead, he paid for it and offers you newness of life.
That’s who Jesus is. Servant of all who pays a ransom for many. For you and me.
 Matthew 20:28