2020-03-22 – Mark 10.32-45 – Suffering Servant Status
2020-03-22 - Mark 10.32-45 – Suffering Servant Status
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
We are all going through some pretty tough times right now. There have been so many drastic changes to our work and home life due to this Coronavirus, and I am confident that this will not be just a short duration event. So buckle-up and stand firm in your faith knowing that God is in control. This is one of those times that we will mark in the history-books of our lives, as a most significant event indeed. However the Bible reassures us over and over again, as Christians we have an everlasting hope to cling to, in that of Jesus Christ, and heaven is our ultimate reward.
Having said that, the best response to these dynamics we can offer is a stable and content persona, that might cause others to consider the hope of Gospel for which we endeavor to be living out. So today’s message is not one of fear or panic, but instead we will continue on in scripture, going through this book of Mark to see and learn more about Jesus who is our Rock and our Redeemer.
Please turn in your Bibles to Mark 10.32 of God’s Inspired, Infallible and Living Word. But let us first start with Prayer.
Last week we read about the Rich Young Ruler and how he aspired to acquire salvation. But when Jesus suggested that for him it would be necessary to give up his fortune, he sadly instead just walked away. Afterwards the disciples asked Jesus about this, as they too were counting the cost of salvation. Verse 26 says: 26 They were even more astonished, saying to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.” Jesus told them that they should expect to be persecuted but they will have “eternal life in the age to come”.
Then verse 31 concluded with Jesus again saying 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” He said this because, I would argue, He knew that their pride was again going to be something they would continue to wrestle with. And that is what we are dealing with in or scripture message today, that thing called pride. You have heard before the quote “Pride goeth before the fall”. That is actually from Proverbs 16:18 where King Solomon wrote, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”. Something we all should learn to heed indeed. Our verses today continue at Mark 10:32:
32 They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. 33 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.”
Because Jesus had just spoken to them about facing persecution, the disciples were anxious and astonished as they thought about what awaited them ahead in Jerusalem. The fear of the unknown, many would argue, is the worst kind of fear. It is something we can’t well control. Most people seem to exarate the negative possibilities in their mind, and it causes them much stress. That certainly applied to the disciples then, and I would bet it also applies to many people here today.
But Jesus’s death and resurrection should have come as no surprise to the disciples. Here He clearly explained to them what was going happen to Him. Unfortunately, I believe they didn’t really hear what he was saying. Jesus said He was the Messiah, but they thought the Messiah would be conquering king. He spoke to them of resurrection, but they heard only his words about death. But the Gospels include many predictions of Jesus’s death and resurrection to show that these events were really God’s plan from the beginning. God is in control…
Verse 35 continues: 35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.”36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them. 37 They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
This request of James and John are also mentioned in Matthew 20. However Matthew also mentions that their mother Salome requested this of Jesus. She wanted her sons to be important in God’s kingdom to come, just like most any parent would want success for their children. I love though how they first ask this of Jesus, much like children might ask their parents for something they know they normally wouldn’t grant. I remember my children asking in this exact same fashion. “Dad we want you to do what we ask, okay?” Sometimes out of fun I would say Okay, but then have to take it back because it was really not prudent. Have you ever been there? I am sure you have. Do you think the disciples actually would have expected a yes from Jesus? I doubt it. Although in Mathew 7:7 Jesus did say, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened”. But Jesus also said if you ask in my name (or according to God’s will), then it will be granted. However, we will see that was not the case with the disciple’s request here.
They asked if they could sit at Jesus’s right and His left in heaven. In other words they wanted the positions of highest prominence and honor beside the throne of Jesus for all eternity. That was a monumental request indeed.
Verse 39 continues: 39 “We are able,” they told him. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. 40 But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
The cup and the baptism Jesus is referring to here infers the burden and the persecution that Jesus was about to undertake. It is true the disciples did in fact take on the huge responsibility of leading the church after Jesus ascended into Heaven. They also took on the leadership of the church and they were all severely persecuted later for doing so.
But although Christ is the Blessing Giver, not necessarily by way of favor to any one who asks, but according to the eternal and unalterable principles laid down by the Father. Jesus shows them and us that it isn’t prudent to always gratify all our every desires, especially the ones that are rooted in sin like pride and greed. Jesus knows that some of our requests would actually ruin us if granted. He loves us, and like any good parent, He will give His children what is good for them according to His will. And He desires for us to be satisfied with what He gives.
41 When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The title of this message today is Suffering Servant Status. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who was born of man as a baby, did not come to be served. Jesus was a supreme example of what is called Servant Leadership. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords relinquished His privilege and gave His life as a selfless sacrifice in serving others. And the “ransom” mentioned in this last verse, was the price Jesus paid to Father God to satisfy His justice and holy wrath against our sin. In paying it, according to 1 Peter 2:24, Jesus “bore our sins in His body on the cross.”
Jesus alone had achieved that Suffering Servant Status, and for that we have much to be thankful for. As Christ followers now, we should all aspire to be more and more like him. We should want to be a Servant Leader like he so well demonstrated. A servant leader seeks to invest themselves in the lives of others so that, as a whole, the church community is challenged to grow themselves to be more Christ like in character. This is demonstrated in the leader’s willingness to give of themselves to meet the needs, but not necessarily all the wants, of the people.
According to Paul as written in Ephesians 4:12, the focal point of Christian servant leadership within the church is “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up”. So just as Jesus asked the disciples, “Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” The question for us to answer is: Will you choose this day to stand-up and become a Christian Servant Leader?
In this challenging time we face ahead dear church, we must prudently step out of our comfort zones while we obey the guidelines of our leaders and make a difference in the lives of those God puts in our paths. Are you willing to do that? Are you with me on this?
Would you please stand and pray with me now.
Father, this is why we’re here to worship today, because of the glory of Your precious Gospel. Confirm it to our hearts Lord, as we pray this in Jesus Christ’s Holy name, amen. [SLIDES]