and whoever wants to take the first place among you must be the servant of all;
rise through the ranks
and find your limits
by the unranked authority
needed to ride a rise
whoever would rise
had best attend
to a coup in the making
by those passed over
risen leavened bread
has a short shelf-life
compared to hearty fare
sow your seed
in trust of increase
and all will be well
right now and again
It is one thing to take a servant role within speaking distance of those you are actively supporting and correcting. There is a mutuality implied in that such a servant can also have those who assist in supporting and correcting you.
It is quite another to have a huge gap between a slave and a master. Here there is no relationship other than, “Do the job to my expectations or ‘Off with your head!’”
Servants are present; slaves are non-persona.
In addition to distinctions between servants and slaves there is also a parallelism that heightens the direction in which Jesus points the Twelve.
To be a servant is to be in practice to go beyond being a servant who knows they are a servant and has expectations of the others in the group to be their servant. To go beyond this quid pro quo brings us in the direction of being a slave or to be so conditioned by being informed by our suffering and death that there is no longer a conscious choice going on, but we know how to care for another and simply do it without calculation.
To move from a servant within a group to slave “vis-à-vis the entire human community” (LaVerdiere-2119) is a journey of theosis or participation in the tradition of the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim (the 36 people in every generation who are this kind of servant/slave without knowing an claiming it).
This is the διακονέω (diakoneō, service) provided by angels in the wilderness (1:13), Simon Peter’s unnamed mother-in-law (1:31), Jesus (10:45), and his women followers (15:41). This is the serving Mark is implanting in his readers through their encounter with the Twelve who seem not to get it so readers might come to awareness of the possibility of their being deacons, servants, slaves unto resurrection.