Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Mark 9:31-32, “For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, ‘The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.’ But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.”

Mark 9:33-34, “And they came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’ But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.”

Mark 9:35, “And sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.’”

Self-centeredness is the norm to which we all gravitate. Sin is the cause. The lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes, the boastful pride of life—demand attention. They tell us to always do that which is best for “self.” “Looking out for number one (self)” is the mantra of lost humanity.

The disciples couldn’t understand what Jesus’ was talking about (Mark 9:32). He was their Master—what were these words of sacrifice and death? They had heard Him speak of the same things before. That was when “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him” (Mark 8:32). But they did not understand and remained ignorant until after His death. They were not setting their minds on God’s interests (Mark 8:33). They were not thinking of things from God’s perspective. Jesus’ servant-minded manner of life and ultimate act of self-sacrifice are diametrically opposed to the spirit of this world.

Jesus was teaching His disciples about sacrifice, they were arguing amongst themselves about greatness. They had a discussion about it (Mark 9:34). What criteria did they espouse as a basis for measuring such a thing-- Good looks, intellect, strength, cleverness? How are we to measure true greatness? Our society puts forth movie stars, rich folks, athletes, and famous people as the truly “great” people. Children are taught to aspire to greatness in these ways. The world says that greatness is found at the top. What does God say?

Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.” True greatness is measured in terms of God’s standard. True greatness was revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. He, the greatest of all, was the servant of all (Mark 10:45). He left His Father’s throne above and came to dwell among lost and needy sinners. The way up was down. He has worked, through His death, to save self-centered sinners that they might be forgiven and transformed. His greatness is made manifest in their lives as they follow in His steps, taking on His self-sacrificing nature. Donald English, “At the source of all Christian service in the world is the crucified and risen Lord who died to liberate us into such service.”

Philippians 2:3-5, “Do nothing from selfishness, or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

J. C. Ryle, “These words are deeply instructive. They show us that the maxims of the world are directly contrary to the mind of Christ. The world's idea of greatness is to rule, but Christian greatness consists in serving. The world's ambition is to receive honor and attention, but the desire of the Christian should be to give rather than receive, and to attend on others rather than be attended on himself. In short, the man who lays himself out most to serve his fellow men, and to be useful in his day and generation, is the greatest man in the eyes of Christ. Let us strive to make a practical use of this heart-searching maxim. Let us seek to do good to our fellow men, and to mortify that self-pleasing and self-indulgence, to which we are all so prone. Is there any service that we can render to our fellow Christians? Is there any kindness that we can do them, to help them and promote their happiness? If there is, let us do it without delay. Well would it be for Christendom, if empty boasts of churchmanship and orthodoxy were less frequent and practical attention to our Lord's words in this passage more common. The men who are willing to be last of all, and servants of all, for Christ's sake, are always few. Yet these are the men who do good, break down prejudices, convince infidels that Christianity is a reality, and shake the world.”

Pastor Jerry

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