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Mark 10: How Selfish Can You Be?

posted Oct 22, 2012, 8:51 AM by solomon yang

Once again Jesus speaks of His death. “The Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him” (10:33-34).

Apparently, James and John weren’t listening. Or they don’t seem to care. At the very least, they have more pressing concern at the moment. "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you....Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory” (10:35, 37).

Talk about being selfish. Your Master is agonizing over His imminent suffering and death. You know it’s weighing heavily on His heart. After all, this is a third time He’s talking about it in a short span of time (8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). And all you can think about is your own welfare?

This isn’t the first time the disciples are being selfish. The first time Jesus spoke of His death, Peter got upset because he was only seeing from his point of view. After the second time Jesus spoke of His death, the only thing the disciples could talk about was who was the greatest among them. And now, after the third time Jesus spoke of His death, all that James and John can think about is, “Who’s going to be Jesus’ #1 and #2 go-to guys in the new administration when He takes over? We’d better make sure it’s us!”

Obviously, Jesus’ earlier message fell on deaf ears. “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (9:35). So Jesus repeats the same message at length. "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (10:42-45).

Shameless self-promotion may be the way of the world. But it shall not be so among us. The world says, “Look out for #1. Use people as necessary.” But Jesus says, “Look to serve. Learn to put others ahead of you.” And He points us to His cross and says, “See how I came not to be served but to serve, to sacrifice myself for others?” In the kingdom led by such King, we don’t make a big deal about ourselves. Rather, we die to ourselves daily so that we can truly live a life of love and service.