“Let him who boasts boast in this …”
In Matthew today we read of the friction among the disciples of Jesus; this arose after the mother of two of them
“came up to him (Jesus) with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him … ‘Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one on your right hand and one on your left, in your kingdom’” (20:20,21).
Why was this request made? The desire for positions of honour always creates jealousy, this is provoked even more when boasting is involved, which is all too often the case. The request made the other ten “indignant” (verse 24). Jesus called them to him and told them they should not allow themselves to be influenced by the spirit they saw around them
“but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve …” (verses 26,27).
These words are rather parallel with what we read today of the words of the Lord to Jeremiah.
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight,’ declares the LORD” (9:23,24).
The disciples learnt, after his ascension, how to serve their Lord in the right way. One of those two sons was the first disciple to become a martyr (Acts 12:2). Let us serve our Lord who died for us, true service is a genuine humbled Christ-like spirit.
Recall how he described his followers as sheep! He then made this point,
“I am come that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
An abundance far beyond our present comprehension.
Let us follow and serve the “good shepherd” and aim to do the things in which he delights. The more we know our Lord the more all human forms of boasting will disappear from our thoughts. Instead we will find ourselves caused to ponder – in our deepest meditations – the wonder of what it is to “understand and know” the Almighty. And then, to ourselves – in our hearts – we will meditatively “boast in this”.