And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45 ESV)
In Acts 17:6 an angry mob complains about the missionaries coming to Thessalonica because everywhere they went they have “turned the world upside down.” Jesus’ teaching in this above text is one example. Leaders lead by serving rather than lording it over others. This is a great reversal from the way our culture operates. But in reality this isn’t turning the world upside down but turning it “rightside up.” It was turned upside down by the fall and the ensuing sinful nature that was passed down from our first parents. Jesus said “the first shall be last and he last shall be first.” This too is example of the world being turned “rightside up.” Righting the upside down world was no easy task. The power of sin that flipped it must be broken. Jesus did this by coming to us. He lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died to break sin’s hold on us. In this way he came to serve. He removes the penalty of sin from over our heads and sets us free from our bondage to sin by restoring our identity with God. In Christ we find our worth! That means we are set free from trying to gain it through “lording” ourselves over others that we might lead.
There are other ways we “lord over” others even when we are not given authority or leadership over them. Complaining can be a form of this. When you complain about not having food you like to eat or about having to do your homework or being too cold, you are complaining about the service of others to you, with the expectation that they serve you.
Lord, would you let this gospel truth set me free to serve others today.