The Attitude of A Servant Pt 3

The Heart of a Servant

Matthew 20:29-34

“Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”


            For the casual observer, the question seemed pointless.  Soon after dealing with the disciples’ fixation with power and prestige, Jesus leaves Jericho to ascend up to Jerusalem to celebrate his final Passover with the disciples.  As they were leaving, they encountered two blind men sitting by the road.  To be blind in this time period was to be without any means of income.  There were no social programs, no government assistance.  To be blind meant that they were reduced to begging for their necessary needs.  The text does not tell us how these individuals became blind, whether it was an accident, a disease, or perhaps the tragic result of some sinful behavior, we do not know.  What caused their blindness was not important.  What was important was the fact that these individuals were destitute and reduced to begging for their daily sustenance.

            When they heard that Jesus was passing by, there was a glimmer of hope.  They had undoubtedly heard the stories of Jesus, how he had healed the lepers, enabled the paralyzed to walk, and ---given sight to the blind.  They perhaps also knew the Old Testament prophecies, that when the messiah would come, he would give sight to the blind (Isaiah 42:7-9). For them, the passing by of Jesus gave them a glimmer of hope.  However, they recognized that they did not merit in themselves to receive divine healing.  Therefore, they began to cry out for Jesus to have mercy on them.  

            When Jesus heard their calls, he turns aside and then the one question that seemed to be pointless.  He asked them “What do you want Me to do for you?”  The answer was so obvious that the question seemed senseless.  Everyone knew what they wanted, that was obvious.  Furthermore, we need to remember that Jesus was infinite in his knowledge, so he already knew the answer.  This brings us the puzzling question: Why did Jesus ask such an obvious question when he (and everyone present) knew the answer.  More than anything else, they wanted to see!  So if he already knew the answer, why ask the question?

            To answer this question, we need to place it into the context of the previous discussion.  Previously, in response to the disciples bickering about who would have the highest positions in heaven, Jesus had rebuked them by rearranging their perspective.  Greatness is not achieved through power, but through servanthood.  So when Jesus asked the question, he was not seeking information, he was making a point.  People who hunger power ask the question: How can others serve me and my agenda.  People who are servants ask a different question.  They ask: How can I serve you!  In asking the question Jesus is providing a real-life example of what it means to be a servant.  

            This event challenges us to rethink our own perspective.  How many times do we go to church with the expectations that we are to be served?  When people leave a church, how often do they give the reason: “It was not ministering to my need.”  We evaluate the church by what it does for us.  But this misses the whole point of what it means to be a servant.  The purpose of a servant is not to be served, but to serve. The heart of a servant is one who asks the question, “What can I do for you?” rather than “What can you do for me?”  To be like Christ we set aside our person agenda, needs, and desires.  Instead we strive to serve others and their needs. Next time you go to church, go with the with the attitude of a servant and in so doing you become like Christ. 


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