I want my own personal Jesus. I come to Him with a list of requests, expecting Him to fulfill my shopping list. “Do this and that for me, Jesus, I’m amazing, I deserve it.” I like a Jesus who does what I ask of Him, who fits into my mold and expectations. I make demands of Him and He steps up to the plate to carry out my every whim – that’s how it should work. I’m confident He’ll do what I say. “Just give me what I want, and no one gets hurt.” James and John had similar ideas. They asked, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you. Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But what does Jesus think about this?
It’s not Jesus’ way. He makes the demands of me, I don’t make the demands of Him. He said of Himself, “The Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” He said that was His cup to drink, His suffering to live (and die) through, and James and John could have a part of that if they wanted. That’s a far cry from their misguided, “sitting at your right and left in glory” nonsense! James and John come with selfish goals and delusions of grandeur, but Jesus said, “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Greatness is to be had in being gentle and lowly and serving, not positions of power and lordship. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” That is the way of knowing and following Christ. You don’t come setting your own agenda and Jesus blesses what you decide to do. You come willing to serve, to be a slave, ready to suffer, receiving from Him what He gives you, and Jesus grants that.
Spurgeon said, “The genuine spirit of a Christian is not to ask that something should be done for him but to ask his Master what he could do for him.” I don’t know if President Kennedy read the Bible, but I wonder if he was thinking of Jesus’ words when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” How do you approach Jesus? With a list of demands or humbly stating, “Not my will but yours be done?” Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you. Consider today how you approach Jesus and what you ask of Him. Are you asking for your priorities or His?