Part B. Jesus and Hellenization

In the Gospels we witness Jesus making a clear distinction between Greek ideas and practices regarding leadership and his own view of leadership. If he does so, one might ask “why?”.

“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” … And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. 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. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”” – Matthew 20:20-21, 24-28

Here we see at least two of the disciples throwing around some Hellenistic ideas – that of having prominent leadership positions. Jesus responds by criticizing these ideas of the Zebedee family and directly associates these concepts with those of the Gentiles. Jesus is ultimately categorizing this as a Greek idea, going on further to say that that “it was not that way” with the disciples. He does not say “it should not be that way”, but “it is not that way”. Keep in mind, the disciples were all Jewish!


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