Jesus came to serve not to be served
Mark 10:35-37 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
Think about this. Jesus had just told them for the third time not only was He going to Jerusalem to die, but how He was going to die and two of His closest disciples make this demand. “We want you to do for us whatever we ask”!
Jesus is extremely gracious when He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” The reason it’s incredibly gracious is because first they had no right to demand anything of God and second they hadn’t even been listening to what He was telling them. He said He was going to die and they still thought He was going to be setting up an earthly kingdom and wanted to be numbers 2 and 3 in the cabinet!
As Christ followers we shouldn’t be at all concerned about making ourselves great, but by making Christ great.
Mark 10:38-40 38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
When Jesus asks if they can drink the cup He will drink – the cup is the way they used to talk about suffering, about God’s wrath or the cup of judgment. Where He talks about baptism, the word He uses means immersed. He’s asking them if they are willing to be immersed in God’s will the way He was. Jesus didn’t have an air of privilege and as His followers we shouldn’t either.
In verse 39 James and John said they could! And Jesus said they would drink from the cup and be baptized with the baptism that He would be baptized with because He knew that they would become believers, serve Him and die for Him. (James would be martyred and John exiled.)
Mark 10: 41-42 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 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.
The other 10 disciples were indignant with James and John because they wanted the same thing! Jesus tells them the difference between the world and Christianity. The world wants privilege and authority. Christians come as servants. We must pursue Christian responsibility, not privilege and God will take care of the rest.
Jesus was within days of His death here. These passages are His last teachings. He wanted us to know and remember these things. Especially these next verses:
Mark 10: 43-45 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.”