Giving Ourselves as Gifts: Expanding the Frame

The definition of “framework” is this: a basic structure underlying a system or concept. After much time spent in Jesus’s company, James and John thought they had that down pat. They understood what Jesus was up to – he was going to take over! He was going to overthrow the Romans and establish the nation of Israel once more. They were excited for this event. In fact, they even asked Jesus, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory” (Mark 10:36).

However, Jesus’s ministry actually had a different framework. The basic structure of his life had nothing to do with becoming a conquering hero. In response to their request, Jesus said this to James and John: “You do not know what you are asking” (verse 38). Jesus wanted James and John to get down off of their high horse and see what he was really going to do. Later in the conversation, he elaborated on the true framework of his ministry – the really basic structure underlying his entire life.

“You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (verses 42-45).

The basic structure of Jesus’s life and ministry is summed up in these words. He was here to serve. He was here to give up everything, even his life, in order to save the world. And not only that, but he expanded the frame: his disciples were to do the same. They weren’t going to be riding victoriously into Jerusalem; on the contrary, they would be putting themselves in the lowest possible station in life.

What could possibly be the reason for this? We find the answer in Jeremiah 31. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (verses 33-34).

This is the reason. This is the goal we’re working towards, that all people may know the Lord, and we won’t need to evangelize anymore. This goal is the same goal Jesus was working towards. He knew that it was not just about him, and not just about us. It was about everyone on earth. Jesus expanded the frame of James and John, and now he is expanding yours. How can you serve the people of the world today?