great Servant

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came near to him, saying, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we will ask.”

He said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

They said to him, “Grant to us that we may sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left hand, in your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

They said to him, “We are able.”

Jesus said to them, “You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit at my right hand and at my left hand is not mine to give, but for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant towards James and John.

Jesus summoned them, and said to them, “You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all. For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:35-45 (WEB)

When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant towards James and John. Just a quick observation about this sentence. It is always so much easier to see pride in others before ourselves, isn’t it? (ouch!)

Jesus brings the disciples together to teach them. It seems that Mark is telling us that this is going to be important. And it is. Jesus begins by reminding them how it feels to be considered less than. He tells them it is so very wrong to use one’s authority in order to denigrate others. And that is not what they are to do! I wonder if He even shook His finger at them. And then Jesus tells them something so startling and so contrary to their thinking and their society.

“If you want to be great – you must be a servant.”

And Jesus goes on. He says that serving will not be just a one time thing. It is like that of a “bondservant”. It is a lifetime commitment to serve BECAUSE Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, came not to be served by everyone – but to serve everyone. Jesus gave all as our ransom from the chains that bind us to sin. The Servant sets us free.

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