Summary: Jesus Christ our Savior set us free from the penalty of sin. Jesus Christ our Lord set us free to minister in HIs Name, but without selfish ambition of gaining position, prestige or power in God's kingdom.
GOOD NEWS PRESENTED BY MARK
Study of the Gospel According to Mark
As you read Mark, be aware that you are reading the very first written account of the ministry of Jesus – a fact well documented by credible Bible scholars. Quite naturally, we want to know who Mark was, and we find that he is mentioned frequently in the New Testament.
What we know about him is that he was the son of a very well-to-do woman in Jerusalem; her name was Mary, and her home became the center of early church get-togethers. So, you can imagine that Mark was there when Jesus’ closest followers came to his mother’s house for a “church council” meeting. Peter the chief elder referred to Mark affectionately as “my son.”
Mark was also the nephew of Barnabas who talked Paul into letting the youngster go with them on one of their missionary journeys - which, you may recall, resulted in Mark’s falling out of favor with Paul by leaving and going back home. However, it’s interesting to note that, years later, when Paul was in prison, facing execution, he asked Timothy to bring Mark with him, “for he is a most useful servant to me.”
I suppose Paul saw in this young man a Christian who had the ability to write; and, apparently having redeemed himself, he could now be counted on to carry out Paul’s wishes. This explanation is plausible because Mark had served as Peter’s scribe and, as such, had written much of what Peter related to him about his eye witness account of the ministry of Jesus.
MARK SERMON VII – MARK 9:30-42 . . .
CHRISTIANITY’S BEST KEPT SECRET
The best kept secret of Christianity was revealed by Jesus twenty centuries ago but, since then, has all too often been ignored by many of His followers. The secret must be how the real meaning of Christianity plays out in everyday life.
As Savior, Christ set us free from the penalty of sin; as Lord, He set us free to serve others in His Name – meaning that we do so with no thought of gaining position or power in the kingdom of God. As He freely gave of Himself in service to us, we give of ourselves in service to others.
The apostles were slow to catch on. The same can be said of many Christians since then. Who among us has not known of someone in the ranks of Christianity who struggled with selfish ambition – a burning desire to be the one “in charge”? All too often achieving a position of personal power is more important than submission to a higher power.
If you don’t believe that certain folks consider themselves to be greater than others, just ask them! Anyone besides me remember Cassius Clay, the world boxing champion? He loved to boast, “I am the greatest”. And, in the world of boxing, he was! But, in the realm of Christianity, such is not the case among followers of Jesus. No one is “the greatest.”
Jesus’ disciples had a hard time coming to grips with the notion that His role was to be that of a suffering servant; so naturally they had difficulty accepting the fact that they were being prepared to follow in His steps --- Mark 9:30-35 . . .
Jesus left no doubt in anyone’s mind that when it comes to the kingdom of God “who’s the greatest” is not a question to be considered.
Christianity is not about attaining greatness or a position of power! You and I are just as important in God’s sight as any other Christian. The ground at the “foot of the Cross” is level. Christians have equal opportunity to “run the race” that has been set before us.
There are no “favored few” in “the kingdom not of this world”! There are no “Teacher’s pets”! Each of us is called upon to BE God’s (possessive) and to DO God’s Will - AND with this concept there can be no argument.
In American history, President John Kennedy made perhaps the greatest inaugural statement of any president in my lifetime: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” That simple yet profound challenge resonated with people in all walks of life.
In Christian history, however, the concept of servitude has not always resonated with some Christians who chose, or choose, to make their OWN imprints in the “sands of time” rather than walk “in His steps”!
Don’t you believe that economic problems could be solved if people lived for what they could do for others and not for what they could get from others? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the spirit of Good Samaritan-ism rather than all the other “isms” prevailed in our society?