Freedom Through Service
20 It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request. 21 “What do you want?” Jesus asked. She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.” 22 Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?” They said, “Sure, why not?” 23 Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.” 24 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. 25 So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. 26 It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. 27 Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. 28 That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling down she asked something from him.
24 And when the ten heard this, they were indignant concerning the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions exercise authority over them. 26 It will not be like this among you! But whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be most prominent among you must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
We see the same story as told by Mark in .
45 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.”
Observe the transforming power of the Gospel in the life of Saul “of Tarsus”.
1 Once we were safe on shore, we learned that we were on the island of Malta. 2 The people of the island were very kind to us. It was cold and rainy, so they built a fire on the shore to welcome us. 3 As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. 4 The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” 5 But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. 6 The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.
And after we were brought safely through, then we found out that the island was called Malta. And the local inhabitants showed extraordinary kindness to us, for they lit a fire and welcomed us all, because of the rain that had begun and because of the cold. And when Paul had gathered a large number of sticks and was placing them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. And when the local people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Doubtless this man is a murderer whom, although he was rescued from the sea, Justice has not permitted to live!” He, in turn, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. But they were expecting that he was going to swell up or suddenly to fall down dead. So after they had waited for a long time and saw nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began saying that he was a god. Now in the regions around that place were fields belonging to the chief official of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us hospitably for three days. And it happened that the father of Publius was lying down, afflicted with fever and dysentery. Paul went to him and after praying, he placed his hands on him and healed him. And after this had taken place, the rest of those on the island who had diseases were coming and being healed also. They also honored us with many honors, and when we were putting out to sea, they gave us the things we needed. Now after three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered at the island, an Alexandrian one with the twin gods Castor and Pollux as its insignia. And putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there three days. From there we got underway and arrived at Rhegium, and after one day a south wind came up and on the second day we came to Puteoli, where we found brothers, and were implored to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome. And from there the brothers, when they heard the news about us, came to meet us as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns. When he saw them, Paul gave thanks to God and took courage. And when we entered into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself with the soldier who was guarding him. Now it happened that after three days, he called together those who were the most prominent of the Jews. And when they had assembled, he said to them, “Men and brothers, although I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, from Jerusalem I was delivered as a prisoner into the hands of the Romans, who, when they had examined me, were wanting to release me, because there was no basis for an accusation worthy of death with me. But because the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar (not as if I had any charge to bring against my own people). Therefore for this reason I have requested to see you and to speak with you, for because of the hope of Israel I am wearing this chain!” And they said to him, “We have received no letters about you from Judea, nor has any of the brothers come and reported or spoken anything evil about you. But we would like to hear from you what you think, for concerning this sect it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.” And when they had set a day with him, many more came to him at his lodging place, to whom he was explaining from early in the morning until evening, testifying about the kingdom of God and attempting to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets. And some were convinced by what was said, but others refused to believe. So being in disagreement with one another, they began to leave after Paul made one statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through the prophet Isaiah to your fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing and will never understand, and you will keep on seeing and will never perceive. For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they hear with difficulty, and they have shut their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” ’ Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles. They also will listen!” So he stayed two whole years in his own rented house, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, without hindrance.
1 [NOW] BEFORE the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew (was fully aware) that the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. And as He had loved those who were His own in the world, He loved them to the last and to the highest degree. 2 So [it was] during supper, Satan having already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, 3 [That] Jesus, knowing (fully aware) that the Father had put everything into His hands, and that He had come from God and was [now] returning to God, 4 Got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a [servant’s] towel, He fastened it around His waist. 5 Then He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the [servant’s] towel with which He was girded. 6 When He came to Simon Peter, [Peter] said to Him, Lord, are my feet to be washed by You? [Is it for You to wash my feet?] 7 Jesus said to him, You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on. 8 Peter said to Him, You shall never wash my feet! Jesus answered him, Unless I wash you, you have no part with (in) Me [you have no share in companionship with Me]. 9 Simon Peter said to Him, Lord, [wash] not only my feet, but my hands and my head too! 10 Jesus said to him, Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is clean all over. And you [My disciples] are clean, but not all of you. 11 For He knew who was going to betray Him; that was the reason He said, Not all of you are clean. 12 So when He had finished washing their feet and had put on His garments and had sat down again, He said to them, Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call Me the Teacher (Master) and the Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher (Master), have washed your feet, you ought [it is your duty, you are under obligation, you owe it] to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do [in your turn] what I have done to you. 16 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, A servant is not greater than his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed and happy and to be envied are you if you practice them [if you act accordingly and really do them].