AMBITION AND THE KINGDOM
My Savior, as I read today, help me know how You want me to respond.
Read Mark 10:32–45
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
The Request of James and John
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.”
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.”
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. 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.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRemember that we are not only to hear God’s Word but put it into practice as well. How good are you at the practicing part?
Ambition is a good thing as long as it doesn’t consume us or make us pushy and ruthless in our desire to succeed. Some of the disciples were ambitious in an unhealthy way, which is why Jesus speaks again about servanthood. In the kingdom, leaders are first and foremost servants.
A third reminder of the fact that Jesus is going to Jerusalem to die underlines the truth that He is the suffering servant, spoken of in Isaiah (52:13 – 53:12). In this context the unseemly arguing about position in the coming kingdom seems out of place. Jesus speaks of His coming death as a cup to be drunk and a baptism of suffering, reminding them that leaders must also be prepared to suffer.
Leadership in the kingdom is not like leadership in the world. The emphasis is not on power and position. It is not about bossing people about like a little dictator. Jesus might well have deserved privileged status, but He chose to humble Himself and offer His life as a ransom to set others free (45). That is why greatness is to be seen in how well we serve, not in what position we hold (43,44).
Leaders are servants frst, and leaders second. What do you think that means? How might it be worked out in your life?
Jesus, I know that I can only lead as well as I follow You, my King. Teach me to follow You wholeheartedly.
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