This passage is found in both Matthew 20:25-28 and Mark 10:42-45:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (NLT)
God’s kingdom is not like the world’s. Jesus said it should be different among us and I think He meant in a good way. Yet somehow we have let the world’s ideas of power creep too strongly into the church body. For example, there are those who would advocate a power hierarchy in Christian marriages, with the husband being the boss over the wife. In this set-up, the wife must “obey” her husband without question or else she is in rebellion; not just against her husband, but against God! Sadly, a twisted interpretation of Scripture is used to justify this mindset.
Yet when we read Jesus’ words and see His actions in Scriptures, we have a clear picture of His idea of leadership. He was a servant. He loved and helped people. He didn’t try to grab power and authority by keeping others pressed down under His thumb. He gave up His life to free people from the bondage of sin. What love! The God of the universe enters our everyday life to serve us at our point of deepest need! Then He calls us to do the same: humble ourselves, give up our pursuit of worldly status and power, and lovingly serve those around us. Overlay the above words of Jesus with the words of Paul that so often get twisted by those seeking to wield power over their wives in Ephesians 5: 21-28:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy… In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (NIV)
Is not the Church’s goal to serve Jesus Christ in love? So wives should serve their husbands in love. Did not Jesus Christ exhibit His love for the Church by serving her to the point of sacrificing His life for her? Then husbands exhibit their love for their wives by serving their wives, even sacrificially. Following Jesus’ example means we all serve one another in godly love. I thank God for my loving husband! It is a blessing to serve him.