But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”
In any group of 12 men there will be jockeying for position, and the disciples of Christ were no different. This time, though, even the mother of two of the disciples got involved. The mother of James and John asked Christ to name her sons to the top leadership roles under Him in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 20:21).
Of course, this didn’t go over too well with the other disciples! “They were greatly displeased,” Matthew records (verse 24). So Jesus used this as a teaching moment. He knew they all had misconceptions about what Christian leadership is all about.
Christian leaders must not be patterning their leadership after the natural human style of leadership, which stresses authority, power and the perks of being in charge. Jesus Christ told His disciples to focus on service instead. God’s government is not for the benefit of the leaders, but for the benefit of the governed.
For more about God’s style of government, see our section on the “Kingdom of God.”