Matt 20:20-28 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.  And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.  But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.  And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.  And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

  • Verse 20 is also translated that she bowed down or kneeled down.  This word worship in Greek means to kiss (like a dog licking his masters hands).  It was and is custom among many in the Eastern cultures to fall upon their knees and touch the ground with their forehead as an expression of reverence.
  • This mother no doubt knew that worship was one sure way to get the Lords attention.  However, her motive in worship was to get on the Lords good side in hopes of getting what she wanted.  Simply being, she wasn’t satisfied that her children were on the ministry team, she wanted more.  She wanted them to be the Lords right and left hand men.  To sit on the right and left hand of a prince was a token of confidence, and the highest honor granted unto his friends (1 Ki 2:19, Ps 110:1, 1 Sam 20:25).  Thus the mother wanted her children to be recognized.
  • I think it imperative to point out that Mark 10:35 implies that the sons (James and John) made the request while Matthew records the mother made the request.  The picture here may very well have been that the sons were making their request known through their mother. 
  • It happens like this in the day in which we live?  Simply being, if the child wants a position, the child would go to the parents and the parents would go to the leadership in hopes of persuading them to give such positions to their children.  Children, there are some things that your parents can’t get for you (even if they do know God).  For example; your parents can give you bread and fish, but only God can give you His spirit and power (Lu 11:11-13, Acts 8:19).  
  • Note Jesus words in verse 22, “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?   2 Tim 2:12 says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.”
  • I trust that you see the principle of suffering prior to reigning.  Thus, the reason for Jesus saying, “Ye know not what ye ask.” Simply being, if you knew what it would cost you to sit in the place you are seeking, you would want no part of it (as church in wilderness didn’t as can be seen in Acts 7:39).
  • baptism that I am baptized with?”  The cup and baptism are synonymous here in that they speak metaphorically of affliction (crown of thorns, cross to bear, thorn in ones side, trial by fire, tribulation, etc) or punishment (Mt 26:39, Isa 51:17,22, Ps 73:10, 75:8, Jer 25:15, Rev 16:9).  
  • The backdrop here is taken from a feast, where the master of the feast extends a cup to those present.  Thus, this is a picture of the Father extending to his son a cup filled with a bitter mixture—one causing deep sufferings as can be seen in John 18:11.
  • With the above insight, we can better understand what Jesus is asking.  Simply being, “Are ye able to suffer with me– to endure the trials and pains which shall come upon you and me in endeavoring to build up my kingdom? Are you able to bear it when sorrows shall cover you like water, and you shall be sunk beneath calamities as floods (See: Ps. 69:2; Isa. 43:2; Ps. 124:4-5; Lam. 3:54)?
  • Note that Jesus doesn’t give the sons or the mother what they want, but he does let the sons know that THEY ARE going to suffer.  Can you put yourself in their shoes?  Simply being, you are going to suffer greatly and still may not get what YOU WANT, but you will get what God has for you! 
  • For those that like to study the bible, you would be interested in knowing that James and John both suffered greatly as Jesus said.  Herod killed James with a sword (Acts 12:1-2).  John was exiled on an Island called Patmos (means place of my killing) to be a companion of others in Tribulation (Rev 1:9).
  • Note that Jesus said, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”  The principle here is simple for those in position of pastoring.  Just because you suffer with your pastor doesn’t mean that they can give you what you want and place you where you may want to be placed.   
  • When the other 10 disciples heard this, they were furious with James and John.  Even so today, there are the 10 disciples and there are the James and John in almost every local assembly.  Which do you relate to?
  • Note how Jesus responds to them, “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
  • In simple terms, Jesus was saying that the world has a paradigm (pattern or model) it relates to in leadership, but the world’s model is not the model for the Kingdom of God and those walking in it. 
  • The world gets things done through power; control, pressure, manipulation, money, intimidation and the list could go on and on.  The world gets to the top by climbing over each other.  The world’s map to success is Self-Promotion. 
  • One English rendering of promotion is advancement in responsibility.  Many there are in local assemblies that (in the name of help or filling a position) have burned themselves out by taking on responsibilities the Lord never intended them to bear. 
  • Many there are that simply want to start at the top without any discipleship at all.  If you are one of these, I suggest you go find a job as a well digger or gravedigger.  You can start at the top on either one of those jobs.
  • With the above insight, it should be very evident when you look at the church at large to see they are looking through a different paradigm when it comes to ministry.  For example, if I were to call someone out and tell them they were called to the ministry, many of them would be excited and start counting down days left on their job.  However, if I told the same to another, they might lose it all and say something like, I don’t want any part of the ministry, I don’t want to preach, I don’t want to go to Africa, I don’t want to sing, etc.  You see, that is their paradigm (model) on ministry.
  • The Bible concept of ministry is serving (comply with, act in accordance with another’s command, request or wish – Jesus did this – See Jn 8:29).  It isn’t scriptural for the people in the congregation to come in and tell the pastor how things are going to be.  They have been set in the local assembly to serve the pastor as well as the vision of the pastor. 
  • The Bible concept of ministry is preferring.  Rom 12:9-10 bears this out where it says, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.”  Another translation reads, “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good.  Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle which is simply a secondary role.” 
  • To practice is to do something repeatedly in order to become good at it.  This is definitely not the paradigm of the world.  Are you willing to put in as much effort in being a follower as you have in being a leader?  Selah
  • The Bible concept of ministry is love.  I Jn 3:16 says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life (will, desires, etc) for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 
  • The words “lay down” in the Greek means to place in a passive or horizontal position.  The order is as follows.  Jesus laid his life down for his Father first and then the world.  The Father then raised him as well as those that followed him. 
  • Principle: When you lay your life down for the Lord and the people around you, it is then you are qualified for a resurrection!  And, not only do you qualify for resurrection, but those you laid your life down qualify.
  • The more you apply these truths and principles, the further you will go in your ministry and church.  Did you ever wonder why many individuals in the church as well as local churches have hit a dead end?  I am persuaded that one reason is they started off right with a servant’s heart and then after God begin to use them and expand their sphere of influence, they shifted from serving too it’s all about me and what I want.  Of a truth, we don’t need more preachers in this hour as much as we need more servants.
  • Jesus made it clear, “If you want to be great – SERVE!”  Another translation reads, “And if you want to be right at the top, you must serve like a slave.” I trust that you see the Lord has no problem with each one of us being great.  However, He makes it clear there is an order you must obey to become Great in His Kingdom.
  • One of the leaders objectives must be to influence people towards doing their will willingly for the common good of the people and church.  I know some would call that manipulation.  Not so, manipulation is where one seeks to get the people to do their will willingly for their personal gain instead of the good of the people.

Luke 4:38-39 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.  And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them.

  • Note that Simons mother ministered unto them.  Do you think she said; now sit down Jesus and let me preach to you awhile?  No, she ministered unto them by serving them.  This word minister in the Greek also means to offer food and drink to the guests.
  • Note the law of sowing and reaping.  Jesus served her, she served Jesus.  Jesus served her the spiritual word; she served Jesus with her carnal things (See: 1 Cor 9:11). 
  • Note that she arose and then served.  The principle is simple.  You must ascend into the place where you see that it is Christ that is head and not you.  It is at this place that you will become a servant to those around you even in your local church.  

Matt 27:54-56 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus (while he served in laying his life down), saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

  • Note that it says the women followed Jesus and ministered to him.  As Jesus advanced towards his purpose, the women saw his needs and served him.
  • he disciples couldn’t serve him because they were hiding in fear.  I know it is a weighty saying, but the closer Jesus got to the cross the further the men got from him and thus failed to serve him when he needed them the most.
  • Principle:  As your Pastor advances, their needs will increase and if you have eyes to see, you will these needs. 
  • Will you hide at that time or serve? 


Phil 2:2-9 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

  • A pastors’ joy is fulfilled when those they pastor walk in obedience to the Word of God.  Heb 13:17 says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” 
  • Note likeminded, one mind, lowliness of mind and this mind.  While it is true that we will never all think alike as far as ideas and opinions, we should think alike or have the same frame of mind that Jesus had and admonishes us to have in this text.


1)                  In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Another translation reads, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”

  • Have you ever seen someone do something and said something like this?  “I could do a lot better than they are doing.”  Would you have a hard time esteeming such a one better or more important than you?
  • I am reminded here of Exod 4:10-12 which reads, “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.  And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” 
  • 1 Cor 1:26-27 says, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Another translation reads, “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families.  Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses.”
  • A servant of God is not going to look down on people like they are better than they are.  They will love with Gods’ love and treat them as equal in the Kingdom of God.

2)                  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

  • What is your motive?  Are you out to see those around you succeed or just that you get what you want?
  • Principle:  When you put others first and become involved in their lives, God will bless your obedience and get involved in your life.
  • Sad to say, there are those that will humble themselves and look out for the best of others until they get a position.  Simply being, “When people begin to be drawn to them and they start meeting their needs, the gifts start operating in their lives, their sphere of influence is enlarged, they get a BIG HEAD and rise up with an attitude like they are suddenly owed something.  They are, “A good kick in the BUTT!

3)                  Made himself of no reputation, took on the form of a servant.

  • John 6:15 says, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”  Another translation reads, “Jesus saw that in their enthusiasm, they were about to grab him and make him king, so he slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by himself.”
  • How would you respond if you heard someone wanted to give you a prominent position?  What thoughts would rise immediately?  This will show you whether you are a servant of God or want to have a reputation before man.

4)                  Humility / Jesus humbled himself.

  • Luke 14:7-11 says, “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.  But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.  For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

5)                  Obedient unto death.

  • Jesus was obedient though it cost him his life.
  • How would you respond if I told you that when you decide to walk in obedience to the word of God, it is going to cost you some close relationships around you?
  • In Matthew 26:56, you will see Jesus coming to such a place where ALL his disciples forsook him and fled
  • Peter, the one who had a revelation of Christ, begin to follow Jesus afar in Matthew 26:58.
  • Principle:  As the Pastor gets closer to the cross; they will see who is really willing to go all the way. 

Exod 17:8-13 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.  So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.  And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.  But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.  And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

  • Note that Moses said in verse 9 and Joshua did in verse 10.  Joshua was a true servant.  He willingly obeyed and submitted to his pastor.  He didn’t ask questions.  He didn’t call for a vote.  He didn’t give his opinion.
  • Joshua knew to obey Moses was to obey God and to obey God could only result in VICTORY!
  • How would you have responded to Moses command?  Perhaps you would have said something like, “Do you mean you want me to go out and do your dirty work while you watch and get all the credit?”  This mindset is causing many in local assemblies to walk in defeat and frustration because they simply don’t have the revelation and understanding of the role their leader plays in them possessing victory or defeat.
  • I am reminded here of 2 Sam 21:15-17 which reads, “Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.  And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David.  But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.”
  • I think it interesting to point out here that Moses went up and his servants (Joshua and men) went down.  While, here we see that David went down and his servants went down.
  • Aaron and Hur received a revelation that while Moses hands were down, they were defeated.  However, when Moses hands were up, those that Moses had trained and equipped were victorious in battle. 
  • Abishai and the men of David received a similar revelation in that David (their pastor) shouldn’t be fighting giants but allowing those that he has trained and equipped to do the fighting while he keeps the light shining, keeps the word coming forth.
  • Abishais’ name according to Brown Driver Briggs means my father is a gift.  David was a spiritual father as well as a gift to Israel.  Thus Abishai and the men of David were determined to look out for David and protect him even if it meant giving their life for him.  The Lord is still giving gifts unto men as can be seen in Eph 4:8-11.
  • The common denominator between Aaron, Hur and Abishai and the men of David is that they were supportive of those over them in the Lord.  They didn’t fight against their leaders.  They understood well the importance of obedience and submission.
  • I know even with all this insight, there would still be some that would say, “If I were in charge, I would do it another way.”  You know, there must be a reason you are not in charge.  Or, they would say, “If you want my opinion.”  There is a reason we didn’t ask.  Selah        

Josh 1:1-18 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.  Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.  From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast.  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,  Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.  And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land.  Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’s servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.  And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go.  According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.  Whosoever he be that doth rebel against thy commandment, and will not hearken unto thy words in all that thou commandest him, he shall be put to death: only be strong and of a good courage

  •                   Note that Moses was the servant of the Lord and Joshua was the minister or servant of Moses. 
  • Principle: You must first become a servant and serve others and then God will exalt you and others will serve you.
  • Principle:  You will find the best ministers are usually those that have served other ministries.  For they are the ones that God has exalted.
  • Joshua was faithful in serving Moses and now God exalted him as he served the Lord, others would serve him.  
  • Note the words of the people in verse 16, “All that you tell us, we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go.” 
  • Can I tell you that this had to be a major adjustment for them?  They had followed a leader that brought them out of Egypt and through the wilderness (in circles for 40 years).  Now, they were going to have to follow a leader that was going to take them into BATTLE in order to possess the promises of God.  Moses was a deliverer.  Joshua was a warrior.
  • A servant is known by his master’s absence.
  • God has three sorts of servants in the world: some are slaves, and serve Him from fear; others are hirelings, and serve for wages; and the last are sons, who serve because they love.”

I trust you have been blessed by this two-part teaching.  We have each one of these messages available to order on cassette for any size love offering to God’s Healing Ministry.  Your support enables us to send our tapes around the world.


SERVANTHOOD – PRESENT TRUTHS [Troy Nichols          1


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