In reply to the mother of the sons of Zebedee, who wanted her precious two to have political power in Jesus' kingdom, Jesus gives a lesson for all his followers:
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not so 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 20:25-28
Sin is often described as rebellion against God, or to think that one's self is God in place of God. The self gets to determine what's right and wrong. One major problem with sin is that in order to be God, one necessarily must lord it over God's creatures. God is sovereign over his creation, and man asserts his sovereignty over God's creation in sin. A logical result of this is to lord it over other people. This is why Jesus points out how the Gentiles' systems of government include overlording.
In the ancient world, kings asserted themselves as deity and were worshipped as deity. Today it's the same, with variations on forms of government. But lording it over others is not part of Jesus' plan. His solution, as he exemplified it himself here on earth as a man, is to serve instead of to rule over. This applies to both politics and religion.
Israel's cry to God for a king like the other nations meant they wanted to worship man and to have man in control. They wanted to usurp God. Saul was the sad result. Today, we want the rule of man over man with our systems of government, both in church and state. And it isn't Christian. Jesus said so.
*28 - originally posted 01-28-10