Summary: Proposition: Jesus addresses the issues of ambition/greatness/success. He teaches and models to His disciples that true greatness comes when we decide to 1. Become true servants in habit and lifestyle 2. When we practice true servanthood daily.

Scripture: Mark 9:30=37; Psalms 1; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a

Theme: Ambition/Success - Jesus Style

Proposition: Jesus addresses the issues of ambition/greatness/success. He does so by teaching His disciples that true greatness comes when we decide to 1. Become true servants 2. When we practice true servanthood


Greetings in the name of Jesus. What a joy it is to be with all of you here to worship, to pray and to hear from the Word of God.

Let's take a few moments and center in on that passage that God provides for us in Mark chapter 9:30-37. We first of all find the 12 and some of their family members back at Jesus' home base located in the city of Capernaum. You may remember that the city of Capernaum was the center of Jesus preaching ministry and was his primary residence for a great deal of His ministry.

It was in Capernaum that we see Jesus teaching in the local synagogue. It was in Capernaum that we see Jesus healing and casting out demons. ( Mark 1:24-31; Matthew 4:12-17 and John 6:59). Capernaum was also the residential area of Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew. The city was located about 2 1/2 miles from the mouth of the Jordan River and bordered the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It was both a fishing village and a busy trade center.

Verse 33 provides for us the back drop. They had all been out preaching the Good News. And now after a successful journey they were back home. They were all gathered together in Jesus' home and were starting to settle down and get comfortable. It was a time to debrief, take stock of what had happened and to prepare for the next mission.

Jesus opens up a discussion by wanting to know what His disciples had been talking about the last few miles of their journey. He of course had been in the front leading them, but behind him, He could hear that they were having a rather heated discussion. Now, that everyone was gathered together and setting down, Jesus desired to know what it was that had caused such a lively and heated discussion. He wanted them to share so that they could all talk about it together, calmly and rationally.

Verse 34 tells us that suddenly, everyone became mute. No one offered a sound. Along the trail everyone had been talking up a storm, sharing their own opinion(s). Now, here in front of Jesus, no one dared to open their mouth. No one wanted to share what they had been arguing about. No one wanted to confess that they had been arguing among themselves about which of them was the very best disciple. No one wanted to tell Jesus that they felt that they were the cream of the crop. No one wanted to confess that they believed that they were right below Jesus in the pecking order.

What these men and the others that followed them did not know was that Jesus knew exactly what they had been talking about. He knew that they were talking about personal ambition, about wanting to be the best, about even wanting to be the greatest. What they did not know was that such discussion didn't bother Jesus at all. In fact, it allowed Jesus the opportunity to help them understand how they could in fact be the best disciple possible. What they thought was a negative, Jesus saw as a positive. Where they thought they were going to get a reprimand, Jesus wanted to share a lesson. All Jesus wanted to do was to steer them the right direction so that they could achieve their ultimate dreams and ambitions.

You see, rather than being upset, I believe that this passage tells us that Jesus was thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to sit them all down and teach them some very important lessons. I believe that Jesus was thrilled to be able to reveal to them some ways that they in fact could achieve their highest potential as His disciples.

Most of us, I think share the same hopes and desires of these 12 men. We desire to be the best that we can be in what we do. I think we all want to get ahead in this life and I believe we all strive to be the best in certain areas and that we may even at times want to be the greatest in a certain chosen area. None of that is evil or bad or wrong. Just the opposite. What would be bad is if we decided that we only want to be 2nd best or 3rd best in the eyes of the LORD. What would be bad is if we just wanted to slide in this life and only do the mere minimum. That would be the last thing Jesus would desire in our lives.

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