True Place of Honor

Matthew 20:20-28

Salome, the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John is not to be confused with the other unrighteous Salome found in the NT in Mark 6 who asked for John the Baptists head on a platter.

The righteous Salome was the wife of Zebedee (Matthew 27:56), the mother of the disciples James and John, and a female follower of Jesus. This Salome was the one who came to Jesus with the request that her sons sit in places of honor in the kingdom (Matthew 20:20–21). She was also one of the women “looking on from a distance” when Jesus was being crucified—with her were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph and James (Mark 15:40). These same women were together on the third day after that, bringing spices to Jesus’ tomb to anoint Him. When they encountered the angel, who told them that Jesus was risen, they ran to tell the disciples the good news (Mark 16:1–8). Mark’s Gospel is the only one that mentions Salome by name.

Servanthood – The Place of Honor
Matthew 20:20-28

Introduction: On this ‘Pastor Appreciation Sunday’ I wanted to remind myself and all of us, what should be being acknowledged and celebrated this morning.


Transition: In Matthew we have a narrative that entails an unusual request.

We do know that Zebedee was a fisherman by trade.

  • When Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He called to James and John, who were “in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets” (Matthew 4:21). James and John immediately left their father to follow Jesus. The promptness of their obedience to Jesus’ call may indicate that Zebedee and his sons were already familiar with Jesus’ ministry and that Zebedee fully approved of his sons’ calling.
  • In those days, following a rabbi and learning from him was an honor, and it would have reflected well on Zebedee and his family. 
  • Mark 1:20 gives the added detail that Zebedee employed hired hands, who were also in the boat, which suggests that Zebedee was a man of some means. It also means that James and John were not leaving their father without help.

    Reading between the lines in the story of the miraculous catch of fish, it seems that Zebedee’s family was in a partnership with Simon Peter’s family in their fishing venture: “Simon Peter . . . and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners” (Luke 5:8–10).
  • Zebedee was married to Salome (see Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40), one of “the women who had followed [Jesus] from Galilee” (Luke 23:49). Due to Salome’s presence at the crucifixion and at the tomb of Jesus three days later, it is probable that Zebedee’s family were close followers of Jesus throughout His ministry.


Transition: Salome’s request (at the boys behest) was that her two boys, James and John (who were already 2 of the 3 of Jesus’ closest disciples) would be given a ‘place of honor’

Question: The question remains why this was her request?

  • Was it selfish?
  • Was it the request of James and John?
  • Did Salome want James and John to stand out? Be more important?
  • Possible / Probable insight:

They were still looking for a temporal kingdom. They expected that he would reign on the earth with great pomp and glory. They anticipated that he would conquer as a prince and a warrior. They wished to be distinguished in the day of his triumph. To sit on the right and left hand of a prince was a token of confidence, and the highest honor granted to his friends, 1 Kings 2:19; Ps 110:1; 1 Sam 20:25. The disciples, here, had no reference to the kingdom of heaven, but only to the kingdom which they supposed he was about to set up on the earth.


Transition
: What is really important is how Jesus replied to the request.

Taken, adopted and adapted from internet source….sorry, I can’t find to give credit for.

True leadership is servanthood, and the greatest leader of all time is Jesus Christ. Servanthood is an attitude exemplified by Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:6-7). The five words in the New Testament translated “ministry” generally refer to servanthood or service given in love. Serving others is the very essence of ministry. All believers are called to ministry (Matthew 28:18-20), and, therefore, we are all called to be servants for the glory of God. Living is giving; all else is selfishness and boredom.

Marks of a Servant Leader – Jon Bloom, staff writer, desiringgod.org
Question
: What traits do we look for in a leader that suggest his fundamental orientation is Christlike servanthood? This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are five fundamental indicators.

1. A servant leader seeks the glory of his Master.

And his Master is not his reputation or his ministry constituency; it is God. Jesus said, “The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood” (John 7:18).

* A Christlike leader is a bondservant of Christ (Ephesians 6:6), and demonstrates over time that Christ — not public approval, position, or financial security — has his primary loyalty. In this he “swears to his own hurt and does not change” (Psalm 15:4).

2. A servant leader sacrificially seeks the highest joy of those he serves.

This does not conflict with seeking the glory of his Master. Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant . . . even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:2628).

Whatever his temperament, gift mix, capacities, or sphere of influence, he will make necessary sacrifices in order to pursue people’s “progress and joy in the faith,” which results in the greater glory of God (Philippians 1:252:9–11).

3. A servant leader will forgo his rights rather than obscure the gospel.

“A servant leader’s identity and trust are not in his calling, but in his Christ.”

Paul said it this way: “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them” (1 Corinthians 9:19). What did this mean for him? It meant sometimes he abstained from certain foods and drinks, or refused financial support from those he served, or worked with his own hands to provide for himself, or went hungry, or dressed poorly, or was beaten, or was homeless, or endured disrespect inside and outside the church (1 Corinthians 4:11–139:4–7). And he decided not to marry (1 Corinthians 9:5). This all before he was martyred.

Paul’s servant bar may have been set extraordinarily high, but all servant leaders will yield their rights if they believe more will be won to Christ as a result.

4. A servant leader is not preoccupied with personal visibility and recognition.

Like John the Baptist, a servant leader sees himself as a “friend of the Bridegroom” (John 3:29), and is not preoccupied with the visibility of his own role.

He doesn’t view those with less visible roles as less significant, nor does he covet more visible roles as more significant (1 Corinthians 12:12–26). He seeks to steward the role he’s received as best he can, and gladly leaves the role assignments to God (John 3:27).

5. A servant leader anticipates and graciously accepts the time for his decrease.

All leaders serve only for a season. Some seasons are long, some short; some are abundant, some lean; some are recorded and recalled, most are not. But all seasons end.

When John the Baptist recognized the ending of his season, he said, “Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:29–30).

Sometimes a leader is the first to recognize his season’s end, sometimes others recognize it first, and sometimes God lets a season end unjustly for purposes a leader can’t understand at the time. But a servant leader graciously yields his role for the good of Christ’s cause, because his identity and trust are not in his calling, but in his Christ.

Conclusion:

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