1.27 Synoptics -- The Kingdoms of God and Man

Jesus contrasted his Kingdom with those of the Gentiles (Mat 20:25-27Mk 10:41-45Lk 22:24-27). This teaching was prompted when the mother of James and John asked Jesus to let her sons sit at his right and left hand in the Kingdom of God.

        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. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave" (Mat 20:25-27).

        Luke adds a statement about "Benefactors," and that Jesus' disciples were not to act like them. Instead, Jesus was conferring upon them his Kingdom, in which they will sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.

        

Jesus was trying to nip their jealousy and rivalry in the bud by changing their attitudes. His own conduct was to be their standard -- the greatest is the servant of all. It is interesting that he used the arrogance of the Romans as his negative example, when he could just as well have used the religious leaders of Israel. At other times, he scolded the scribes and Pharisees for their abusive authority. In this case, however, he was talking about political authority, which was in the hands of the Gentile overlords. This teaching was not only a rebuke to the disciples' petty infighting, but an indictment of the world political system, with it hierarchy of power and privilege.

        "You are not to be like that" (Lk 22:26).

         What a put-down of social conventions. Social rank has no value in God's Kingdom.