Mitsubishi is the latest carmaker to admit to inflating fuel efficiency estimates for their cars for the past 25 years. This week, the manufacturer admitted it had been lying about the fuel economy in cars sold in Japan. They join auto companies Hyundai, Kia, and Volkswagen which have all been exposed in the past two years for reporting false fuel economy ratings. These large corporations are not the only ones who have covered up scandals.
On Wednesday, the former U.S. Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, faced sentencing for charges related to covering up sexual abuse he committed decades ago as a high school wrestling coach. He evaded financial regulations in order to pay one victim to keep silent regarding such accusations. Yesterday, the judge sentenced Hastert to 15 months in prison, a fine of $250,000, and 2 years under supervision including sex-offender treatment.
Leaders are entrusted with power and influence, and sometimes they abuse that power, causing immense suffering for others. Jesus saw his own disciples tempted to use power for personal benefit, so he took the opportunity to paint for his disciples a vision of what true, Kingdom-oriented leadership looks like. For us today, we each have power and influence in various parts of our lives, whether in big or small ways. As you look at your own life, how would Jesus’ words apply to those areas where you have influence?
It was about that time that the mother of the Zebedee brothers came with her two sons and knelt before Jesus with a request.
“What do you want?” Jesus asked.
She said, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.”
Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?”
They said, “Sure, why not?”
Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.”
When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”