When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. – Matthew 20:24 (NIV)
There is an old saying, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Greed, lust for power, and desire to control and manipulate others is nothing new. Ambitious leaders are frequent characters in
In Jesus’ day there were good leaders. The Romans excelled at promoting the virtue of noble leadership and wrote much on the subject. The Diaspora Jews (those Jews living outside of
Those who desire power are still enslaved to the harsh master called self-centeredness. The two brothers were certainly consumed with themselves, but many times we miss a very important point. The other 10 were angry that these two had made such a request. David Dickson, puritan expositor and preacher in the 17th century, wrote that “Men will be angry at others for a fault whereof they themselves are guilty”. Perhaps they were thinking, “Who do they think they are?” Or even, “What makes them think they are qualified?” Inside these thoughts lay deeper, darker thoughts. One thought may be “I am more qualified than John”, or perhaps “I would never have asked such a thing”. Notice the language? Getting away from prideful self-centeredness is difficult indeed.
I am learning not to get angry at the sin I see in others. It is hard; believe me—especially when it is directed at me. I am trying a different approach. When I see another’s sin (even if it takes the form of an arrow pointed at me), I use that as a reminder to search my heart for my own sinfulness. If someone slanders me, I try to remember if I have slandered anyone recently. If someone screams at me, I recall times when I have screamed at my children for little reason. By remembering who I am, and what I am, I find myself becoming less indignant with another’s sin, and more indignant with my own.