Summary: Pentecost 21(B) - Believers follow the example of Jesus’ humility not with selfish lives but with serving living.
BELIEVERS FOLLOW JESUS’ EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY
Mark 10:35-45 - October 9, 2005 – Pentecost 21
Dear Fellow-Redeemed & Saints in the Lord:
At one time or another most people have had a role model. Each of us has looked up to different people as examples we might we want to be like or follow. Over time the shining attraction of each earthly example has become tarnished. Today’s society has seen the fall of many who were once held up as role models. There are glamorous movie stars with no moral character. There are star athletes who resort to drugs to enhance their natural abilities. Even world leaders stumble and fall because of the dis-tractions in this life.
As believers we are encouraged when we look to the Scriptures and see excellent examples of Christian character for our role models. Consider Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joseph of the Old Testament and Joseph of the New Testament, Peter, Matthew, Paul – to list only a few. Today our gracious God re-minds of our perfect example to follow. It is our best role model – Jesus. The example of Jesus in our text is an example of humility. Consider the believers in the letter of Peter. These believers were re-minded to follow Jesus example. During this time in history the Christians were greatly persecuted. These believers had their property taken; their businesses destroyed and were removed from their homes. Yet, Peter wrote to them, "If you suffer for doing good, if you suffer for being a Christian, there is nothing wrong with that." In fact, Peter continues: "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). Peter encourages them to remember the suffering of Christ. The believer cannot expect anymore than his Master. A true follower of Jesus may also suffer. You and I learn today:
BELIEVERS FOLLOW JESUS’ EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY
I. Not with selfish lives
II. But with serving living
I. NOT WITH SELFISH LIVES
Who is it that comes before Jesus? We are told: "Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. ’Teacher,’ they said, ’we want you to do for us whatever we ask.’" There was nothing wrong with a request from Jesus’ disciples. The Lord Jesus often told them to come and ask for whatever they wanted, and He would do it. So it was, James and John come before Jesus. The other disciples are also there. All of them are together in a private setting. James and John asked Jesus, "Do what we want." So Jesus re-plied: "’What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked." Jesus is willing to hear them. Jesus is more than willing to grant them their requests.
But James and John come with a request that they probably didn’t think a lot about. They come with a request that shows quite a bit of selfishness. They are quite self-centered with their request. "They replied, ’Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.’" James and John wanted their future places of honor prepared for them. They knew eternal life was certain, but they wanted more than that. They didn’t just want to be a saint in heaven. They wanted to be on Jesus’ right and his left. They wanted to be in positions of honor and glory. But Jesus wants them to think about their request. "’You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said." They didn’t realize that from that moment when they were speaking with Jesus that until Jesus went into heaven, there would be a lot of things yet to happen.
Jesus did not suffer and die yet. He still had to face that. The disciples didn’t go out to preach yet. They had to face that. They weren’t persecuted yet. They had to face that. Jesus told them they didn’t really know what they were asking. Jesus said, "You want to be on my right and left in heaven, but there still is a lot of this life to live and to lead and to follow in His footsteps." So Jesus asked them, "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" Of course their reply: "’We can’, they answered." We fully understand what Jesus was really talking about. Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prays so earnestly that the sweat falls like drops of blood from him. Jesus asked, "Take this cup of suffering from me." This is the cup of suffering Jesus is talking about to James and John. Are they willing to drink that cup? In the Gospel of Luke (12:50) he calls death, "a baptism". Je-sus really wanted them to think. If they were going to follow his example, they would drink the cup of suffering and endure the baptism of death. James and John, "’We can’, they answered."