Summary: What were the disciples arguing about? Who would get to wash the others feet? Who would clean the ancient toilets? No, they were arguing over who would be the greatest. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.
Servant or Celebrity?
The church is people, and so it is natural that most problems in the church are between people. And most problems involving people are the result of one of these 3 things: miscommunication, wounded pride, or spiritual immaturity. The first is hard to prevent totally, the second is easily dealt with, unless you are the proud one, but the latter is both difficult and simple, because it takes time and effort for us to grow up spiritually. God is patient with us, and we should be patient with each other, but we should strive to be growing and maturing.
To grow and mature in Christ is a multifaceted task, but a big chunk of it comes in just understanding servant hood and humility. This chapter is a gold mine for this!
Let’s see the need for humility, the example of humility, and the cost of humility.
1. The need for humility
v. 1 This question was spawned by an argument acc’d to Mark 9. Can you believe the disciples would have an argument? What was it about? Who would get to wash the others feet? Who would get to cook tonite? Watch the nursery? Drive the bus? Clean the ancient toilets? No, they were arguing over who would be the greatest. Who’s top dog?
Jesus had just talked to them about the cross, and His ultimate humiliation. It was in that context that they argued over this. I can hear John saying, “I was the first to wake up on the mount of transfiguration!” James says, “I spotted Moses and Elijah first!” Peter says, “I was the one to worship first!” Then I can hear the other disciples listening and getting really fed up, and one of them chiming in, “You guys were only invited because Jesus knew if He left you for a minute you’d backslide on Him!”
All the disciples are together, along with Jesus, and they are on their way to Capernaum. Jesus is acting like He’s ignoring their argument. It must’ve been something like one of those arguments that goes on in the back seat of your car sometimes. The kids bite and nip at each other back and forth and you let it go a while and finally you snap and threaten to send them to military school. They quiet down for a few minutes and then you hear a whispering argument start up.
Finally, Jesus asks them what they are arguing about. He doesn’t ask to gain the info., but to draw them into accountability. They let Him know their question, and each starts preparing their acceptance speech when He hopefully says it is them. “I don’t know what to say...I’m just so honored and humbled at this!”
Jesus calls a young child over to Him, picks him up in His arms, and uses that child as a great object lesson.
It matters not whether you are 6 or 60. You only get into heaven one way, by humbling yourself. And all of us are little children of God, and the humility must always be there.
The disciples are struggling with selfish pride and arrogance, and need to learn a valuable lesson. And so do we!
The need for humility...
2. The example of humility
The example is a child. We enter the family only by humility. Babies don’t enter the world boasting and bragging about their rights and what they’re gonna do. They are born dependent upon their parents for everything!
a. Humility impacts the family
The disciples were in disunity because of a lack of humility. How does Jesus respond? He reminds them of how they got to be a disciple in the first place...by humility.
Ill.—Fall Festival, I came in my letter jacket and t shirt, hair slicked back, popping my chewing gum, and like the Fonz, I had the attitude of ‘here I am, let the party begin!’ You can’t get saved making that kind of entrance!
When we get saved we sing Just As I Am, and Nothing in My Hand I Bring, Simply to Thy Cross I Cling. We are humble. So what happens to us as we get older in the Lord? The same thing that happens to our children between the crib and that back seat of the car!
b. Humility impacts the fellowship
v. 5 The ground is level at Calvary. All are welcome. The word ‘receive’ in this verse means to welcome. We strive to receive all types here. But some types are harder to receive...it requires some humility on our part.
c. Humility impacts our following
v. 6 To trip up another of God’s little ones is the opposite of humility. But a humble disciple will make a disciple out of our newer little ones. We are to be good examples to them, and if we’re a poor example, we can expect them to go in the same direction as we do. The same is true for parenting. We don’t get what we want, we get what we are!