Matthew 20:26
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
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(26) Whosoever will be great.—Better, whosoever wisheth to be great. The man who was conscious, as the disciples were, of the promptings of ambition was at once to satisfy and purify them by finding his greatness in active service; not because that service leads to greatness of the type which natural ambition seeks for, but because it is in itself the truest and highest greatness.

20:20-28 The sons of Zebedee abused what Christ said to comfort the disciples. Some cannot have comforts but they turn them to a wrong purpose. Pride is a sin that most easily besets us; it is sinful ambition to outdo others in pomp and grandeur. To put down the vanity and ambition of their request, Christ leads them to the thoughts of their sufferings. It is a bitter cup that is to be drunk of; a cup of trembling, but not the cup of the wicked. It is but a cup, it is but a draught, bitter perhaps, but soon emptied; it is a cup in the hand of a Father, Joh 18:11. Baptism is an ordinance by which we are joined to the Lord in covenant and communion; and so is suffering for Christ, Eze 20:37; Isa 48:10. Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace; and so is suffering for Christ, for unto us it is given, Php 1:29. But they knew not what Christ's cup was, nor what his baptism. Those are commonly most confident, who are least acquainted with the cross. Nothing makes more mischief among brethren, than desire of greatness. And we never find Christ's disciples quarrelling, but something of this was at the bottom of it. That man who labours most diligently, and suffers most patiently, seeking to do good to his brethren, and to promote the salvation of souls, most resembles Christ, and will be most honoured by him to all eternity. Our Lord speaks of his death in the terms applied to the sacrifices of old. It is a sacrifice for the sins of men, and is that true and substantial sacrifice, which those of the law faintly and imperfectly represented. It was a ransom for many, enough for all, working upon many; and, if for many, then the poor trembling soul may say, Why not for me?But Jesus called them unto him - That is, he called all the apostles to him, and stated the principles on which they were to act.

The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them - That is, over their subjects. "You know that such honors are customary among nations. The kings of the earth raise their favorites to posts of trust and power they give authority to some over others; but my kingdom is established in a different manner. All are to be on a level. The rich, the poor, the learned, the unlearned, the bond, the free, are to be equal. He will be the most distinguished that shows most humility, the deepest sense of his unworthiness, and the most earnest desire to promote the welfare of his brethren."

Gentiles - All who were not Jews - used here to denote the manner in which human governments are constituted.

Minister - A servant. The original word is deacon - a word meaning a servant of any kind; one especially who served at the table, and, in the New Testament, one who serves the church, Acts 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:8. Preachers of the gospel are called minister's because they are the servants of God and of the church 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 6:4; Ephesians 4:12; an office, therefore, which forbids them to lord it over God's heritage, which is the very opposite of a station of superiority, and which demands the very lowest degree of humility.

Mt 20:17-28. Third Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Sufferings, Death, and Resurrection—The Ambitious Request of James and John, and the Reply. ( = Mr 10:32-45; Lu 18:31-34).

For the exposition, see on [1331]Mr 10:32-45.

See Poole on "Matthew 20:27".

But it shall not be so among you,.... This is not to be extended to Christian nations, as if there were to be no order of magistracy subsisting in them; but that all must be on a level, and no distinction of princes and subjects, of governors and governed; nor to Christian churches, as if there was no ecclesiastical authority to be used, or any church government and power to be exercised; none to rule, whom others are to obey and submit themselves to; but is to be restrained to the apostles as such, among whom there was an entire equality; being all apostles of Christ, being equally qualified and sent, and put into the selfsame office by him: the same holds good of all pastors of churches, who have no superintendency and pre-eminence over one another, or can, or ought to exercise any lordly power and authority, one, or more, over the rest; being equally invested with the same office power, one as another: for otherwise Christ's kingdom would appear like the nations of the world, and to be of a worldly nature; whereas it is spiritual, and does not lie in worldly pomp and grandeur, and in external superiority and pre-eminence of one another; but in the spiritual administration of the word and ordinances; which every pastor of a church has an equal right to exercise, and obedience to them lies in a submission to these things:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be, or, as in Mark,

shall be your minister: whoever would be reckoned a great man in the kingdom of Christ, or under the Gospel dispensation, must be a minister to others if he is desirous of being truly great in the esteem of God, and of men, he must do great service for Christ, and to the souls of men; and seek to bring great glory to God, by faithfully ministering the word and ordinances, and by denying himself worldly honour and glory, and by serving others, through much reproach, difficulty, and opposition.

But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
Matthew 20:26. οὐχ οὔτως ἐστὶν ἐ. . It is not so among you. The ἔσται of T. R. is probably conformed to the two following ἔσται, but it is true to the meaning. Jesus speaks of a state of matters He desires, but which does not yet exist. The present spirit of the Twelve is essentially secular and pagan.—μέγας, διάκονος: greatness by service the law of the Kingdom of God, whereby greatness becomes another thing, not self-asserted or arrogated, but freely conceded by others.

Matthew 20:26. Οὐχ οὕτως δὲ ἔσται ἐν ὑμῖν, but it shall not be so among you) “It appears to me not at all natural to suppose that all use and exercise of civil authority is in this passage utterly forbidden to those to whom these words apply, and much less so that our Lord meant to forbid, by these words, all precedence and inequality amongst His followers, since He Himself both expressly recognises degrees amongst them, by which some are preferred to others, as greater to less (see Luke 22:26), and also proposes Himself to them as an example (ὑπόδειγμα); see ibid. 27; Matthew 20:28. Christ therefore, by this prohibition, did not derogate more from the authority of His followers over each other, than He did from His own over them.”—GATAKER: hierarchically enough.—ἐν ὑμῖν, amongst you) These words “seem to apply to all Christians, whether princes or plebeians.”—Ibid. “Christ teaches that His kingdom is carried on upon different principles from those of this world; for that in those there were external dignities, princedoms, and satrapies, which the respective kings were in the habit of conferring, according to their caprice, upon those whom they wished to honour; but that in His kingdom nothing of this sort was to be found; not because those things were not to be met with, or might not be lawfully exercised in the Church of Christ or amongst the professors of the Christian name, but because they do not pertain to, or arise from, the spiritual kingdom of Christ, to which He invites His followers. Moreover, that there was no reason why any one, in following Him, should promise himself the possession of such dignities, since He neither promised such things to any one, nor took or exercised them Himself: that He professed Himself, by practice as well as precept, to be, not the dispenser of secular dignities, but the author and teacher of humility and spiritual modesty. He exhorts all His followers, therefore, that (utterly laying aside all ambition) they should conform themselves to these virtues, of which they have an example in Himself.”—Ibid.—μέγας, great) the minister of a great king is him self great.

Verse 26. - It shall not be so among you. There is good authority for reading "is" instead of "shall be." The new order of things was already prepared. In Messiah's kingdom a contrary rule holds good. There the governors rule solely for the good of the flock, with no self-seeking, and serving no private interests. Whosoever will be (ο{ς ἐὰν θέλη... γενέσθαι: whosoever would fain become) great among you... minister (διάκονος). Taking for granted that there will be ranks and gradations of office in the Church, Christ lays down the rule that men become governors therein in order that they may serve their brethren, be the ministers of those who are subject to them. So the pope, in his official documents, with a verbally proper humility, terms himself, "Servus servorum Dei." Matthew 20:26Will be great (θέλῃ εἶναι)

See on Matthew 20:14. Rev. would be.

Minister (διάκονος) Servant, Matthew 20:27 (δοῦλος)

Δοῦλος, perhaps from δέω, to bind, is the bondman, representing the permanent relation of servitude. Διάκονος, probably from the same root as διώκω, to pursue, represents a servant, not in his relation, but in his activity. The term covers both slaves and hired servants. The attendants at the feast at Cana (John 2:5) are called διάικονοι. In the epistles διάκονος is often used specifically for a minister of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7). The word deacon is, moreover, almost a transcription of it (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 1 Timothy 3:12). It is applied to Phoebe (Romans 16:1).

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