Notes On Mark’s Gospel (96)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Gettin’ on Down Man!
(Chapter 10 Verses 35-45)

The other disciples want to be on the band-wagon, they want their slice of the cake now (vv41-45). But notice how Jesus nips this in the bud, and turns the whole thing to good account. Is it not amazing how people feel wronged, even in the Church, at the success of others. O they want lots of encouragement themselves, and would be put out of joint if they were not suitably applauded. I think mature Christians would be glad to see others progressing in service, rather than being miserable, mean, and discouraging. Such behaviour is the anti-thesis of all Christian service is, it is worldly (v42). That is not the way you are to be says Jesus (v43), you are in a different class, and must remain so. You want to be a fat-cat with some clout over others? Well it is BT, or Camelot, or some other multi-national company you want to work for, not Jesus. The very desire to have clout (power) over others, is in itself not a mark of grace (Galatians 5.19-26). Greatness comes through service to others (v43), it’s getting down. Every Christian, male and female, should be a servant, ready to serve others in the Church.

You know the limbo dance? Well how low can you get (v44)? The greatness is measured by the service, not the power, authority demonstrated. Jesus switches on the floodlights (v45), and gives us a beautiful illustration of what he means. The Lord of glory who stepped down into the world, for what? To be served and Lord it over others? On the contrary, to serve, to be a slave of mankind (Philippians 2.5-11). The whole purpose of his life and end of his mission was to give, not take. And the ultimate of course was Calvary, giving his life for many (Matthew 26.28; John 15.13). In a word, redemption! Of course God’s redemptive plan had been operative for a long time, with its background in the Old Testament Scriptures, the sacrificial system, and prophecies which pointed forward to Jesus and all he would do. God’s righteous servant (Isaiah 53.10ff), who would atone for sin. The perfect, sinless, wholly righteous Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, who became man, tempted, but found to be sinless (John 8.46; 14.30), with the ability to redeem us from all our sin (2Corinthians 5.21; 1Peter 2.22; 3.18; 1John 2.1). If we have been redeemed then our place is to follow his example, he is our role-model (Ephesians 5.2), shedding all worldly ambition. Jesus led his men to Jerusalem and then to Calvary. That is where life begins.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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