Summary: This message is about how Jesus handled the conversation about greatness - ambition, power and control. Jesus challenges His Disciples - 1. Focus on Others 2. Focus on Service 3. Focus on Acceptance

Scripture: Mark 9: 30 - 37

Theme: Pathway to Excellence

Title: I want to Be #1

This message is about how Jesus handled the conversation about greatness. Jesus challenges His Disciples - 1. Focus on Others 2. Focus on Service 3. Focus on Acceptance


Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Savior and LORD!

Think back for a moment to your school days. You are there sitting in a class room and the teacher has assigned the class some reading or you are suppose to be doing some of your homework.

Did you ever get caught passing a note in class? How about talking in class when you were not suppose to? How about talking about something that you shouldn't have been talking about in the first place and the person you were talking about overheard you?

Remember how it made you feel? Nervous? Embarrassed? Shameful? Guilty? Angry?

That is where we find Jesus' disciples when we come to our passage this morning. The last few weeks had been busy for Jesus and his team. They had traveled through the region of Decapolis, faced the Gates of Hell, enjoyed the wonder of the Transfiguration and witnessed Jesus heal a boy that had been oppressed by an unclean spirit.

Now, Jesus was leading them back home to debrief, rest and to receive some much needed spiritual coaching. Jesus' disciples were learning and growing but they were still were having some difficulties in the areas of prayer, fasting, trusting and believing. It was hard for them to get their heads around the way that Jesus did things. He spoke like no one they had ever head but some of his ideas seemed upside down to say the least. He looked at things so differently than they were normally use to looking at them.

Our passage this morning deals with one of those areas. Bible scholars tell us that there is a very good chance that the home they were staying was the home of the Apostle Peter. We know that Jesus and his team stayed there on many different occasions.

Jesus seizes this rest time as an opportunity to make some needed corrections. One of the first things that he wants to clear up is what they had been talking about among themselves as they had been coming along the road to Capernaum.

They thought they had been keeping it quiet and on the down low. They didn't think that Jesus had over heard them talking. They thought they had been cautious and discreet.

But like the teacher that found our notes or over heard our conversations, Jesus had heard them talk. We can imagine that as soon as Jesus started asking his question heads began to bow and faces started turning read.

" Hey, guys what was it you were arguing about among yourselves as we came down the road?"

Almost immediately you anticipate that Peter is going to say something but he strangely quiet. This is one time that we find him as quiet as the proverbial mouse. He doesn't want Jesus to know what they had been arguing about. In fact, none of them want Jesus to know what they had been arguing about. None of them wanted Jesus to know that they had been arguing about who should be considered the greatest of the group. None of them wanted Jesus to know that they were arguing about who is the best and who one day may in fact be the next leader of the group.

It appears that they were jockeying for power and control. They were doing their best to size up one another. They were trying to maneuver their way to the top. If Jesus was the Messiah then He would need some top brass and each one of them wanted to be in on the action. The ambition bug had bit them. They all wanted to be in control and have some power.

We all know that ambition, power, control, the need to be # 1 if not handled correctly can be a killer. They can whet an appetite that can never be satisfied. All you have to do is to watch modern day politicians, actors and business people and you will see individuals doing all they can to get to the top of their professions. Many of them have no qualms about lying, cheating, stealing, bribing or almost doing anything if it enables them to grab the prize.

I think we are to understand that what these disciples wanted was not so much power and control as it was leadership and position. They wanted to be Jesus #1 disciple. I don't really believe that they wanted to wear some golden crown and sit around all day in garments of purple. I don't believe that they only wanted to be able to tell the others what to do or where to go.

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