Summary: Pride, Humility, Service, Unity

OUT OF WEAKNESS…STRENGTH - James and John: “We Deserve the Best!”

Mark 10:35-45 (p. 707) September 10, 2017


Dwight L. Moody once said, “The measure of a person isn’t how many servants they have but how many people they serve.”

But man! That doesn’t seem to be the attitude in the world today…even many times for those who claim to follow Christ as disciples.

It doesn’t seem many want to sign up for the “servant” job…because on that job description it lists: Someone who is willing to stoop down…someone who is willing to give up…someone who is willing to surrender, sacrifice, and ultimately crucify self.

We read that job description and think: “No way buddy! NO WAY!!! I’m not signing my name on that contract.

But Jesus doesn’t mince words when He says, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the teachers of the law, and He must be killed and on the 3rd day be raised to life." (Luke 9:22)

Right after He tells them this, He says, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me…for whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24) “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world and forfeit or lose their soul?”

James and John and the other disciples have first heard this from Jesus…and on the heels of this amazing statement…they ask Jesus: “Let us have the best places in your glory…one of us on your right and one of us on your left.”

John R.W. Stott in his book “The Cross of Christ” says: “That’s the request of our world…and even many in the church. We’re go getters, status seekers, hungry for honor and prestige. We measure life by accomplishment and our everlasting dreams of success.”

Jesus has just said, “I’m going to be rejected, beaten, killed and I will rise again…If you want to follow me…you must (and yes He uses the word “must”) deny yourself…crucify yourself daily and walk down the same road.

And James and John seem to brush it off and say, “Yeah, yeah, but what about those best seats in the house…give those to us!”

[It would be like your boss asking someone if they’re willing to clean the bathroom and a couple of your fellow employees go…“No, but can you give us your box seats for the Reds game?”]

None of us want to humble ourselves…None of us want to appear weak…but that’s exactly what Jesus is asking of those who would follow Him…It’s essential…it “must” happen…or it’s not real.

And there really is a way to tell if someone is following Jesus.


You cannot serve Jesus and others with your heart full of self and your hands full of stuff.

It’s even more amazing that right before James and John make this arrogant request, Jesus and the disciples have an encounter with a man that runs up to them and asks from his knees: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life.” Jesus then asks “Why do you call me good?” No one is good except God.”

He doesn’t say He isn’t God…Jesus, I believe just wants to know if this man believes He is.

Then Jesus says, you know the commandments don’t you? He mentions 6 of them. (Ironically Jesus doesn’t include you shall not have any other God's first in your life…you shall not worship idols and you shall not covet…coincidental, I think not.)

And the man from his knees says, “I’ve done all that since I was a child.”

Jesus looks at him…and LOVES him…and says, “One more thing…go sell all you own, give it to the poor and come be my disciple.

When the man hears this his expression changes dramatically from smile to frown and he leaves Jesus’ presence sad. He owned a lot of stuff.

The disciples are amazed at all this…and Jesus tries to teach them. He says:

MARK 10:24-27 (p. 707)

The disciples are amazed because they think just like all of us. God blesses good people with stuff…He punishes bad people…It’s how the charlatans who are health and wealth and prosperity preachers prey on people. And Jesus is teaching a radical new truth…only God can change this attitude…only God can transform the human heart…otherwise it’s impossible.

There are two definitions of greatness…the world’s and God’s. The world is easy to run after because it makes us feel important and powerful…God’s is much harder…listen to what Jesus, God Himself says:

“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the gentiles Lord it over them and exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

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