EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Gospel: Matthew 20. 20-28
Today the church commemorates James the apostle. James and John are the sons of Zebedee and they were also referred to as the sons of thunder.
In the Gospel we heard a passage concerning James the apostle. The mother of James and John come to Jesus and kneel before him and asked for a favour from Jesus. She asked Jesus that her two sons should sit on either side of Jesus when he establishes his kingdom.
The people in the time of Jesus and in the times before them were expecting the Messiah, the anointed one who will establish a new reign of God. Like this mother many thought that Jesus is such a Messiah who will establish a new government in the name of God.
The mother wanted her sons to be important and powerful in the kingdom of Jesus. Prompted by this conversation, Jesus talks about a new kind of leadership that he desires.
Whoever wishes to be great must first be a servant and whoever wishes to be first should be a slave. Greatness in the eyes of Jesus is the ability to serve other people and to be an elevated person is to humble oneself and submit oneself like a slave.
Jesus concluded his teaching by saying his disciples should follow the type of leader Jesus is, ‘just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
In the teaching of Jesus he therefore tells us that the marks of Christian leadership is ‘service’, ‘submission’ and ‘sacrifice’. These three characteristics defined the life and ministry of Jesus.
This is quite challenging because this is totally opposite to the way leadership works in society. Christian leadership is not defined by power and authority, it is defined by love, compassion and mercy.