Redefining Kingship: Not So with You

Scripture Reading — Mark 10:35-45

“Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” — Mark 10:45

James and John make a bold request to rule and reign with Jesus in his glory. It may be good to say that Jesus does not deny them this desire. He intends to share his kingdom and his glory with his followers. But Jesus does reorient their request.

Jesus uses the title “Son of Man.” As we saw yesterday, this title means he is a king with an everlasting kingdom. But Jesus also is redefining our very concepts of “king” and “kingdom.” Following Jesus as king means “drinking the cup” of humble sacrifice and suffering. Our great hope of one day reigning with Christ in glory means that we are called to humbly serve him now.

We are right to claim Christ as King and to see ourselves as participants in his kingdom. But our notions of kingship and being rulers need to be cleansed and reclaimed. Our ideas are corrupted by selfishness and sin, which always lead to destruction. Prime ministers and presidents do not refer to themselves as slaves. Raking leaves, changing diapers, delivering meals, or befriending the new kid at school are not on the job descriptions of worldly rulers. But reigning in glory with Jesus someday means serving in humility right now.

Jesus goes further yet. He not only serves in his life; he loves to the fullest in his sacrificial death, offering himself as a ransom. This is an altogether new kind of king and kingdom!

Prayer

Lord, we want to share in your kingdom’s glory. By your Spirit make us strong enough to share in your servant humility. Amen.