Summary: Jesus teaches His disciples that they must 1) be willing to suffer loss to follow His will, 2) be willing to suffer from the others to accomplish soul-care and 3) be willing to be a servant in order to achieve lasting results in His kingdom.
Do You Love Him?
• We live in a society that values ambition.
• Those who are most respected in our society are driven by ambition to reach higher goals than those who fail to achieve notoriety.
• This past week, citizens of 42 states and the District of Columbia purchased lottery tickets to win the MegaMillion jackpot of over $660 million dollars.
• To purchase a ticket that has a 1 in 176 million chance of winning takes a lot of something.
• Perhaps it is ambition, I am not sure I can say.
• A teacher decided to get her students to write an essay about what they would do if they won a million dollars.
• The teacher said the classroom was quiet for about 30 minutes while the students worked with figures, costs, plans and dreams.
• A lot of creativity and notable generosity was expressed by the students.
• The essay that caught the teacher’s attention, however, was turned in by a thoughtful and ambitious girl.
• Accompanied by pages of plans, figures and spread sheets, the girls essay simply said, “A million dollars just will not do. I need a couple of hundred thousand more.”
• Transition: For nearly three years, the disciples walked with Jesus with eager anticipation.
• They learned each would be different from the previous day, and they typically would be delighted with the results.
• Yet another day, they would experience the joy of discovery in following Jesus.
• But lately, as we approach today’s passage, things had taken a turn.
• Things were different, but the differences were not comfortable to the disciples.
• Things were taking a turn that gave them pause, created doubts, confused and even discouraged them.
• They began to struggle with questions they feared to voice, doubts, insecurities and even regrets.
• In their confusion, they began to hold back, not walk as close to Jesus as they did.
• Jesus was obviously under deep stress, and it appeared to the disciples the stress was getting to Him.
• He was speaking of death and suffering, saying things like rich people couldn’t be part of His kingdom.
• He said that the children were closer to His kingdom than they were, children who couldn’t even understand.
• Truly, anyone would have to reconsider any commitment they made, wouldn’t they?
• So they followed Him from a short distance.
Mar 10:32-34 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise."
• As they tried to pull away a little to think and get a handle on the recent events, Jesus instead calls them to walk close to Him so He could walk determinedly to Jerusalem and teach at the same time.
• As they drew near Him, He began the teaching of death and suffering again.
• He was very specific and detailed about his betrayal, trial, beating and crucifixion…
• …And His resurrection: “And after three days He will rise.”
• Such talk caused a sickening feeling in their stomachs, sweat to form on their brows.
• Many questions came to the minds of the disciples, including, “Did we make the right decision? Did we do the right thing? Will what we have forsaken to follow Jesus be worth it?”
Mar 10:35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" 37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory."
• James and John wanted assurances. So they asked for one request.
• Jesus asked, “What is it you want from me? What do you want me to do?”
• Their answer, “We want to be your right hand and left hand men in your kingdom. We need to know that our sacrifices have been worth it.”
Mar 10:38 Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."