Day 35: Mark 10:42-45
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of 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.”
My first impression of this story (also recorded by Matthew in chapter 20:20-28) was a straightforward message: that we should not be seeking a higher position than what we are given, or have a haughty view of ourselves (thinking more highly than we ought), acting selfishly towards others if we happen to have power or authority over them. But as I reread the passage I notice something else that may have prompted Jesus’ statement; prior to v. 41-45, James and John asked Jesus (or according to Matthew, their mother asked for them) to grant them the ability to sit with him in glory at his right and left hand (v. 37). The intentions of the sons of Zebedee might have been good if they thought, “I want to be as close as I can to Jesus through all eternity,” but their mindset, means, or method to get there was like this: “I think I should sit there ... I deserve it.” What makes it worse was that the indignation that the other ten felt toward James and John leads me to believe they had a similar idea: “Wait, what? Why him? I want to be there ... I deserve that position!”
Jesus responds by asking, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They could and would drink the same cup and be baptized just as him. James was the first of this group to die a martyr’s death (Acts 12:2). John did not die in that way, but did go through many sufferings, persecution, and exile to the island of Patmos.
Christ calls us to be humble servants. Jesus had an incredible cup to bear. He did not prepare for this by acting kingly, better than others, and having his few days on earth filled with comfort and satisfaction of his senses. Rather, he prepared by serving others day after day after day. Some have termed this as servant leadership.
If you are already serving so that Christ is glorified ... he knows; if you are serving so that you are exalted ... he knows that too. Verse 45 says “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Aaron Hermiller | Nationally Certified Counselor, Family Resource Center