The Path to Greatness

 
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How do you become great?  Jesus challenged His followers to have a different answer to that of the world’s answer to greatness.  Tune in and check out this radically different way to “do” life. Need prayer? visit my.oswegochristian.com/pray to post a request.Subscribe to our podcast on your phone to automatically have new messages downloaded weekly: in iTunes (http://my.oswegochristian.com/iTunes) or Android (http://my.oswegochristian.com/Google)

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OPENING ILLUSTRATION: Jesus is on His way up to Jerusalem, this is it, the end is close for Him, soon, He will walk into Jerusalem, crowds cheering and shouting Hosanna, laying down their coats for Him to walk on…
And so, Jesus does what any great leader would do – He doesn’t want His buddies to be surprised by what’s about to happen.  He tells them,  “we’re going up to Jerusalem.  This will be the end for Him.  I mean, Jesus is EXPLICIT with them – The Son of Man will be delivered to the Chief Priests and the teachers of the law – they will condemn him to death, Gentiles, mock & flog and crucify, on the 3rd day he will be raised to life.”
But they don’t get it…
Actually, instead of being befuddled or arguing or questioning Him, they do something outrageous…
James and John come up with their mom to ask Jesus for a favor -now, there’s actually pretty good evidence that James and John were Jesus’ cousins.  I’ll post on FB later -I really think this is Jesus’ Aunt that we are about to read about…
ListenMatthew 20:20-2820 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.
This SO has the stink of truth on it – right, family feels entitled to ask you for special treatment…
ILLUSTRATION: Years ago, we went to visit Jenni’s grandparents in their retirement village that they lived in.  Basically it was a bunch of 80 year olds acting like teenagers and cursing around on golf carts.  It was their 50th wedding anniversary, and we were all excited for them.  Well, I was excited until Jenni’s mom came and said, “Kent, would you play and sing a song for everyone with your guitar?”  Can I tell you something, the very last thing I wanted to do was play my guitar and sing for everyone.  So, I of course said, “yes”.  Why?  Because when family asks you, it’s hard to say no.
James and John’s mom has to know this.  She’s come and she’s really working it.  She has knelt in front of Jesus to ask a favor of him.  Here are her boys standing beside her….
And Jesus asks her a piercing question:“What is it you want?” he asked.
I’m always surprised when Jesus asks this question.  It’s a deceptively simple question – He asks it a lot in various forms…
What is it you want? It’s deceptive because Jesus makes no presumption, there is no judgement, He’s just asking her, “why all this show, what do you want…”
Let me ask you question, if Jesus were to ask you that question, how would you answer?
“what is it you want?”
I think most of us would have a hard time answering that honestly -we’d try and sound religious and hide our true hearts
This is something I’m learning about prayer is that Jesus doesn’t want my mixed up fake religious answers – He wants my heart -Jesus legitimately wants to start with you where you are at, not where you think He wants you to be…

And so He asks her, “what is it you want?”
And she answers Him honestly, no religious mumbo jumbo -she wants her boys to sit at the right and left of him in His Kingdom -All that talk of dying and being handed over – all of it forgotten    -It must be a parable or something they don’t understand you She wants her boys to be the top dogs – Jesus’ right and left hand man -these would be his advisors or his generals -His doctor Faucci to Donnald Trump… 🙂
When Jesus here’s this honest request – it’s kind of shocking -He doesn’t say, “no, why are you so selfish and seeking position and power”
Instead He answers her with something else He says they don’t know what they are asking can drink the cup He’s going to drink
Because Jesus knows something about leadershipThe more you’re raised up the more that’s required of you…
He knows that to initiate His Kingdom, He’s going to have to go to the cross… -they want all the acolades without any of the outrage -they want all the power without any of the pummeling -they want to be significant without any of the sacrifice
Here is Jesus’ response…23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
Jesus ultimately says, “sorry boys, this isn’t mine to grant, but He brings all the ten together because of this…
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first 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.”
ILLUSTRATION: [get spray bottle and windshield wiper thingy] Jesus took them and said, “you know that rulers take advantage of their position and power.”  They use it to get what they want…
Then He says 4 words that have influenced all of Christianity since. “Not so with you…”
Not so with you.  Followers of Jesus are not to be like the world in regard to leadership and greatness.
Our job is not to take the seat of honor, but to give it away. Our job is not to have someone serve us, it’s to serve.
Our job is giving, our job is going… It is one thing to talk about it, it’s another to ACTUALLY do it
To figure out ways to humble yourself
Let me ask you, parents, what are ways you serve your kids? -My kids are so sweet and kind, and serve our family all the time – am I doing things to serve them?
When you are in line at the grocery store, shopping, do you even care about the other human being behind the counter – putting up with careless people all day?  or do you just care about how they serve you?
Even in the body of Christ, we can get more concerned with our own needs and our own desires than serving those around us…
Friends, if our savior could wrap a towel around his waist and clean peoples feet, how can you can I take any other posture than being a humble servant. 
There is more to this life than just YOU and what you want and need…