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Matthew 20:25

Lesson # Matt. 20:25
Study Material - Matt. 20:25

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Matt. 20:25

25 But [de] Jesus [Iesous] called [proskaleomai] them [autos] unto him, and said [epo] , Ye know [eido] that [hoti] the princes [archon] of the Gentiles [ethnos] exercise dominion over [katakurieuo] them [autos] , and [kai] they that are great [megas] exercise authority upon [katexousiazo] them [autos] . KJV-Interlinear

Matt. 20:25

25 But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. NAS

Yet two more approaches of attaining greatness are expressed - rulers or dictators, and great men exercising authority.

The first implies control over subordinates in various forms. This is not limited to dictators of nations, but can apply to an individual who has an obsession for controlling his environment and namely those in his life. Some folks are just driven to have their way no matter what. They lack security and try to compensate for their lack, by controlling the activities of others. A spouse can have this controlling problem. A supervisor can have this controlling problem. Certainly dictators have this problem as they exercise their great power under the veil of national law and proceed to abuse their position of authority and power by inflicting misery on the citizens.

The 'great men' imply the political aspects of the abuse of authority. They do not have direct power but they manipulate the strings of power through their political bureaucracies. They play games with truth and in their little debating techniques they attempt to confuse an issue, promote their agenda, and otherwise retain their position without doing anything of substance. They tell people what they (the people) want to hear. They care nothing for their constituents, but always have excuses as to why things have not changed, because their ideas have been voted down by others. It is conveniently everyone else's fault. Never mind that their ideas lack substance in themselves. These types of people use ambiguity to their advantage. The public generally looks no further than the surface promise and has little regard for the in depth mechanism for accomplishing that promise.

And so it is with the disciples. Jesus is warning them that their pursuit of 'greatness' (you'll recall that, that was what started this whole conversation) by the means that they are displaying in their manner, will only lead them to nothing.

They lack an understanding of that which they are pursuing. But of course it is easy to understand how they can be so confused. We all have measures of success and those measures are almost always tied to position or accumulation in some form or another. We gain assets, we gain income, we gain education or credentials, we gain position in society, we seek reputation or approbation and so forth. All of these and more, we look to in an effort to define success. If we have these, then we consider ourselves successful. If we lack these, then we consider ourselves unsuccessful. It is rather difficult to just think in terms of wisdom and defining success based solely on what we know. But that is where the problems lies. We either include or exclude the world in our evaluation of self. Some pursue wealth while some run off into the mountains and reject wealth. Both are misdirected in their pursuit of a fulfilling life.

'Things' or 'titles' have nothing to do with ones success.

Though people pursue dominance, it is usually at the expense of others and ends up with the dominant person taking advantage of their position rather than considering the responsibility they have for whomever their subordinates might happen to be. If we pursue higher position with our selfish interests in mind then misery awaits us. Controlling others through pressure, intimidation and so forth is no respectable position at all. If we have to force our own promotion, then it is not really a promotion.

All promotions of this world are temporary. All promotions from God are permanent. Better to wait on God and be promoted by Him than to pursue your own advancement, (without) God in your life, and receive nothing in the end. Remember that we all will face death sooner or later and then the reality of true evaluation will enter your life. How we will fare then is dependent on how we decide now.

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End Of Lesson

Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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