True Greatness

John Maassen

READ : Matthew 20:20-28

Jesus had told His disciples that in Jerusalem He would soon be condemned to death, and here comes Salome begging for her sons. “Let [them] sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left, in your kingdom.” She just doesn’t get it, does she! It is all right to be ambitious, especially for your children. We admire as much as we condemn Salome’s untimely concern for her sons. But the nature of true greatness is often misunderstood. We think of it in terms of self-advancement, self-glory. But Jesus is not impressed by our self-centeredness.

True greatness is found in service, not selfishness. James and John assented glibly when Jesus asked, “Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” But they didn’t know what the contents would be such renouncing of self as would lead to Gethsemane’s garden, Caiaphas’s court, Calvary’s cross.

Christ holds His cup to our lips too. We are to drink of it every day. “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and . . . follow me.”

That kind of greatness does not produce headlines. But it is far more valuable. We are set free from our sin! We are elated as we realize that we are doing the Father’s will. We face the future with confidence. And one day (perhaps soon) we will hear, “Well done . . . enter into the joy of your master.”


Father, help me with my perspective. My selfishness obscures my vision. I would see Jesus! In His name. Amen.