Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all on top of the world! The glittering prizes of “our wealth and honor – our fame and fortune – of intellectual prowess our great importance” is highly prized in today’s world system but can too often bedazzle the eyes of believers as well, and even Christ’s own disciples were not exempt.
How petty and self-serving can we get? How petty and self-serving were these two disciples – James and John? They wanted special favors from their Rabbi.
They were arguing about who was to be the most important in their little group and were jostling for the highest and best position in Christ’s coming kingdom.
James and John? They thought more highly of themselves. But what a shocking silence must have descending on each person, when Rabbi Jesus stunned them into silence with these head scratching words: that even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life -as a ransom for many.
How are the decisions we make impacting those around us?
Rabbi Jesus said that we should seek to love others as we would love ourselves (Matthew.22:39). Nothing could be more central to that command than for us to spend more time considering how our plans, actions, and words will either serve us or serve others, help, hurt, hinder, the people in our circle of influence.
As Christians we no longer “live to serve ourselves” (Romans14:7)—or at least we shouldn’t. God’s will for us is to see our lives as instruments of Christ to aid, build up, positively enhance the well-being of all the ‘neighbors’ in our lives.
Having been called by the humility of our Savior Jesus, to no longer simply look out for our own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4), we should instead be driven to carefully ponder how pursuing our desires in that purchase, this move, or that meeting is going to affect and benefit others.
The world will continue to tell us to “Look out for number one!”
I’m all for that—as long as we remember that we’re not number one! Christ is.
And he has directed us to look out for the interests of the people with whom he has sovereignly surrounded us. Yes, every day we will make decisions for our own good, but they should all be evaluated with a willingness to modify them or even abandon them as we prayerfully consider their impact on others.
Sometimes we allow ourselves to think we are the centre of the universe. We get so wrapped up in our own world and issues of daily life, we forget about others and their struggles. The incredibly little word ‘me’ becomes most important. We somehow think all of ‘everything’ revolves (or should revolve) around ourselves.
All too often we think all of our feelings and ideas are the most important in all of the world. But guess what: often times, others probably have better ideas than we do. Life has a habit of jolting us into reality, and a lot of things don’t work out as we expect them to. We need to learn we can be wrong sometimes.
Some people love to talk, mainly about themselves, and can be quite dismissive about the point of view of others.
They are not all that interested in what you’ve got to say—they have already worked out their response before you can say too much.
You know people like that?
Does my opinion matter? Probably not.
The New American Webster Dictionary has a really great definition for selfish people:
“they are much too busy absorbing their whole selves into themselves.”
It’s like everything revolves around them, and no-one else. It’s all about me, myself and I. The self-centered person loves no-one else except themselves.
James and John, Sons of Thunder, tried to bargain with their Rabbi for quite the most prominent places in the Kingdom Jesus is leaving behind, for themselves.
James and John, sons of Thunder, were in pursuit of all the wrong things – and even after they heard the words of their Rabbi, could not begin to understand the staggering implication of His words: “Give my Life as a Ransom for Many!”
Mark 10:35-45Amplified Bible
35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He replied to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit [with You], one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory [Your majesty and splendor in Your kingdom].” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism [of suffering and death] with which I am baptized?” 39 And they replied to Him, “We are able.” Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 But to sit on My right or left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared [by My Father].”
41 Hearing this, the [other] ten became indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their powerful men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first and most important among you 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 [a]ransom for many.”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
We are going to take a step back in time today to conceptualize, contextualize what Jesus meant when He asked Bartimaeus: “Come. What Can I Do for You?”
Jesus was asking Bartimaeus, “How will you, then, serve the Kingdom of God?”
When Bartimaeus receives his miraculous healing from Jesus – whom will he be most grateful to, whom will he follow and serve – His Savior God or himself?
45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Here is the heart of our Lord and Savior, Jesus, given in one simple statement.
The foundation and basis of servanthood is giving – and Jesus gave His life as a ransom for all who believe in Him.
No one “took” His life – He willingly gave it up.
Jesus, with all of His power and might did not come to be served as He deserves, but by His love and grace, came down to serve us.
He served us by giving us a way to spend eternal life with Him even though we do not deserve it, nor can we earn it on our own merit.
He gave His life freely so that we might have eternal life.
He served us by being the payment for our sins.
Romans 6:23 tells us that the wages of sin is death, but Jesus paid the price for us. He was our “ransom.”
The word “ransom” refers to the price one paid in Jesus’ day to release a slave.
We are slaves to sin, but Jesus’ life became our ransom that set us free from the bonds of sin.
To be a servant of Jesus, as Jesus himself modeled servanthood, means we must be willing to give up all rights to our life and to do anything God wants us to do.
When we look at Jesus’ ministry, we can see how Jesus served others, just as the disciples had seen Him do: they saw Him touch those that were unclean.
Without any partiality or bias, they saw him heal the sick, deaf, blind, and mute.
Without any partiality or prejudices, they saw Him raise people back to life.
Without any single thought given as to how they were different from him, they saw their Rabbi Jesus feed thousands with just a small amount of bread and fish.
Without biases or prejudices, knowing all their hearts down to the most finite of details, even knowing who would betray him, they saw Him wash all their feet.
They saw Him beaten and nailed to a cross.
Face to Face, Eye to Eye, Soul to Soul, Heart to Heart;
they quite literally watched Him die – for them.
Over and over again Jesus – the only Son of God – for the JOY, which was before Him, placed Himself in humble service to others – even death on a CROSS!
After he was arrested in Gethsemane, Jesus told Peter after Peter had struck the Temple Servant, Malchus:
“He had ten thousand angels at His disposal if his true intention was to call them down to ultimately “Subdue, and then Lord Himself over his Captors.”
He was in the Beginning! He was the Creator of the world!
He shared in the glory of the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Yet He gave up all of Heaven to come to earth, born to a poor virgin girl in a stable with only an animal feeding trough for a bed.
He gave up his own majesty for the humility of needing his diaper changed.
For JOY, He willingly accepted the humiliation and torture of the cross.
And we esteemed Him not?
And He went to the Cross ANYWAY?
Luke 16:15 AKJV 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Romans 5:8-10 AKJV 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Why would He do that for you and me?
Why should He do that for you and me?
Why did He do that for you and me?
His only reason for doing so, was to utterly and completely minister, utterly serve all of humanity throughout all the ages through His willing sacrificial death in our place so we could all one day spend eternity in Heaven with Him.
The greatest servant of all gave us the greatest gift of all because of His greatest expression of unconditional love for us. (Matthew 22:34-40, Mark 12:28-34)
We often talk today about our desire to utterly and completely “serve” God.
And certainly, we should be completely obedient to do what He asks us to do.
But we also need to remember Jesus did not come to earth to be ministered to.
He came so that he could utterly and completely minister unto us.
He still wants to utterly and completely minister to us today.
We don’t have to do life on our own.
He ready to utterly and completely help us.
When we are utterly and completely exhausted or anxious or fearful,
He tells us to cast all our care on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
When we need wisdom, He tells us to ask Him for it and He will give it to us generously (James 1:5).
When life gets busy and overwhelming, Jesus says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
Whatever it is we face in life, Jesus utterly, completely, stands ready to minister to us.
If He utterly and completely loves us enough to die for us, you can bet it all He stands completely ready to help us through every single moment of our life.
How utterly humbling it is to know the Son of God longs to serve one like me.
“Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Jesus is speaking in broad terms as he describes what people in power can be like. They can freely coerce, intimidate, bully, threaten, and seek to control.
In contrast, Jesus says, we are called to live differently.
We must not follow the way of the world with its structures of riches, privilege, race, class castes, culture, nationalities, influence, politics, or religious elitism.
Jesus says we are to be counter cultural servants, following HIS example. He came not to be served but to serve and “to give his life as a ransom for many.”
All our relationships—parent-child, wife-husband, pastor-congregation, teacher-student—need to be refreshed from tendencies to control and manipulate. Instead, the focus should be on serving others, helping people to flourish, and empowering everyone to honor, worship, and follow Christ.
Are you a servant in the example of Christ in your circles of influence?
In what ways are you serving others as a neighbor, friend, spouse, parent, family member, teacher, or church member?
We are children of the heavenly Father and disciples of Jesus, who did not consider glory a thing to be grasped, but who humbled himself to die on a cross (Philippians 2:5-11).
Christ’s life was the exemplary witness to the truth of these words.
He was the eternal Son of God – the King of kings and Lord of lords.
All power in heaven and earth had been entrusted to Him, but He did not demand the service of others but knelt to wash His disciple’s feet.
The One before Whom all creation will one day bow in humble adoration, came to be Servant to all…
and His final act of Service to the children of men, was to become the pivotal point in the history of the universe –
when for the JOY which was before Him, He gave His life as a ransom for many.
Because of Jesus, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices so that the name and kingdom of God are made known.
His words must be our legacy. His example must be the pattern for our lives.
By His death and Resurrection, Jesus bought us out of Satan’s grasp and brought us to an everlasting freedom through the ransom price he paid.
We are now called to follow his example and live his life in our world. We are to serve and sacrifice for others. Living to serve others is the Jesus-way of life!
May we, in these radically challenging contemporary times we must navigate, be endowed with the mind of Christ – for although He was the Son of God,
He learned obedience by the things that He suffered – and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, to pay the price for the sin of humanity – and to ransom ALL of those who trust in His name.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Jesus, thank you for you dying in my place so that my sins could be forgiven. Help me to live my life so that it brings honor and glory to you. May I learn from your example of servanthood to serve others that you have placed in my life so that your love shines through every act of service and every spoken word. Help me, please, Holy Spirit so to remember you stand ready to serve, to minister to me in every situation, I face in life.
Lord God, Author of my life, I pray for wisdom and grace to know how to suffer with You in this life and to give my life in service to others and to You. Keep me from my hankering after every glitz and glamour of this world and may I, like Christ humble myself, become truly obedient to Your word, selflessly follow in Your footsteps – so that Your name may be glorified, in Jesus’ name I pray, Alleluia! Alleluia! AMEN.