Hello readers. Today we will examine with the help of the Lord, the roles of the minister in the New Testament based on the use of the word “diakonos” in scripture. We will talk about Jesus’ teaching, rulers as ministers, Paul’s perception of his role as a minister, ministers in Paul’s ministry.

JESUS’ TEACHING (Mt 20: 20 – 28; Mk 10: 35-45).

Jesus taught that the diakonos or minister was a servant and not a “big boss” or ruler over others in the sense that the world count leadership. This issue was brought to the forefront when James and John’s mother brought her sons to Him, requesting that they sit on His right and left hand when He ruled in His kingdom. Apparently, some discussion had been held in the family about what they would do when they ruled. Based on the Lord’s response, He had perceived that they wanted a place of PROMINENCE, VISIBILITY, POPULARITY, PRESTIGE, RULERSHIP and maybe more.

James and John had a sense of misplaced values. Basically, Jesus replied that the order of the day in His kingdom was the reverse to the world’s philosophies. He told them that:

“they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister” (Mk 10: 42,43).

Note the mindsets of the world when their leaders are in authority. They take on an attitude of DOMINION and AUTHORITY. Jesus implies that this is not pleasant. Furthermore the Greek words imply that the authority is wielded over the subjects who are made to come into subjection to the rulers. The exercise of this kind of authority in the body of Christ will produce the kind of INDIGNATION that the other disciples felt when the Zebedee family made their request.

Jesus was rather amused at the two disciples’ request, because he asked them if they could fulfill the prerequisites for this position. Even if they could, as they affirmed, this position was reserved by the Father and was not theirs. This got me thinking and wondering who would sit at Jesus’ right and left hand when HE ruled in His kingdom.

Jesus reiterated His teaching for emphasis, because HE knew that many would come, like James and John, fighting for positions in His church in order to lord it over the flock. The irony is that James and John were a part of the Lord’s inner circle, yet this position did not even entitle them to rule over the brethren, much less lord it over them. Jesus taught all the disciples that in the kingdom of God and therefore the body of Christ, the chief characteristics of the minster are as follows:

1. Those who want to be great must become a minister. The Greek word for “Great” in this text could mean the one who belonged to a particular rank or eminent.
2. The one who wants to be chief must become a servant (Mk 10: 43).
3. He pointed to Himself as the ultimate example, because, HE “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”. (Mk 10: 43).


The question is therefore, how did Jesus minister? The record of His life provide the answer. He taught and preached about the kingdom, healed, prophesied, cast out devils. His purpose was not what could they do for me, but what could I do for them. His ultimate ministry was to give His life as a ransom for others. We as ministers has to give up our self interests for the kingdom and for the body of Christ.

Learning the true meaning of ministry is a challenge in the world in which we live. Furthermore, when people are promoted in the church to ministerial position because they attend a course, show an interest, produce a degree etc with the aim of ruling, gaining popularity (especially if your church is prominent) etc, they lost the true meaning. Jesus said that He came to serve and not to be served. Let us get this into the systems of the followers and put them to serve in places that are obscure in order to test their faithfulness. The greatest must, after all, be the least. Kingdom approach is always serve, serve, serve. Blessings!