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Summary: The disciples, on more than one occasion, argued over who should hold the highest position in the kingdom. Their desire was for recognition and honor in an earthly kingdom. Jesus had to refocus their thinking and I believe the same refocusing is needed by many today.

The disciples, on more than one occasion, argued over who should hold the highest position in the kingdom.

Their desire was for recognition and honor in an earthly kingdom.

Jesus had to refocus their thinking and I believe the same refocusing is needed by many today.

We all have the same needs for...a little recognition…authority…position…esteem…a little challenge…

There is nothing wrong with these needs. These are human desires & they’re legitimate BUT the danger is that we will allow our hearts to be overtaken with selfishness.

When that happens we become prideful, worldly, ambitious, envious, and hurtful. Sometimes to the point of destroying and killing in order to fulfill this lusts.

What Christ sets out to do, here, is to change the lives of and refocus the disciples as well as our concept of greatness.

1. v.33 Wrong Ambition can Divide:

Jesus returned to Capernaum, His headquarters, and entered the home which was so often opened to Him.

Along the way, the disciples had been disputing among themselves and were probably continuing to argue after entering the house.

The word "disputed" (dialogizomai) means arguing and bickering as well as reasoning.

They were definitely arguing among themselves.

Imagine how Jesus' heart must have been cut to the core.

How many times He had told them about the cross. And here He was about to stand face to face with the cross, while the disciples were arguing over who should be the greatest.

There was only one thing He could do: continue to teach them. He knew about the dispute, but they didn’t think He

knew. He simply turned and asked, "What were you arguing about along the way?"

**Many, today, have heard about the cross, time after time and have never responded. This breaks the heart of Christ. **Many have heard and have responded, yet they continue to seek the things of the world:

Like power, position, wealth, property, fame. Which also breaks the heart of Christ.

A person who pursues the world soon forgets the cross. They forget that they were cleansed from their old sins.

2 Pt.1:9 “or he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”

2. v.34 Wrong Ambition can shame.

The disciples had been arguing over who should be the greatest in Jesus' government.

I want to show you several things about their argument.

1. They did not mean who would be the greatest in quality or character, but in name and position.

a. They were thinking in terms of power, fame, wealth, position, and name.

b. They sensed that Jesus was about to set up His kingdom, about to assume His throne.

They were looking forward to becoming chiefs of state in His kingdom.

c. They were apparently gripped with jealousy, envy, ambition, and even some rivalry.

d. They misinterpreted Jesus' words that He must die and arise again.

They spiritualized His words instead of taking them at face value.

Apparently they connected the thought of "rising from the dead" with the setting up of His kingdom and began to argue over the top positions of leadership.

2. They did not yet understand what the kingdom was.

They still saw an earthly, temporal kingdom and not a spiritual, eternal kingdom.

This passage shows just how far away they were from understanding God's idea of the Messiah

Notice that the disciples kept quiet and said nothing in response to Jesus’ question.

They knew they had done wrong and were ashamed and embarrassed.

Their ambition had led them to quarrel and divide. Their Wrong ambition shamed them.

Here’s something for you to think about…Ambition that leads to argument and division is wrong.

The person who seeks and secures by dispute and division will soon stand before Christ ashamed and embarrassed.

Each person will be called to give an account for his/her disputes and to give an account both for his/her words and life.

Mt.12: 37NLT“The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

Mt.23:12”But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

4. v. 35 Godly Ambition needs instruction: Have you ever wondered why some statements were put in the Bible?

Notice that Jesus "sat down and called the twelve." What’s the big deal about sitting down?

In Jesus' day, when a Rabbi was ready to give a profound lesson, he sat down before his pupils.

The disciples had slipped into a gross error and committed a serious sin. They must be corrected and taught the truth.

Their ambition needed to be instructed and guided in the right direction.

2 Tim.2:15-16 “15Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.”

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