Summary: Which one of us is the greatest? A look at Ambition, Jealousy, and Hostility in our lives

Sins That Reduce Us To A Shameful Silence

(Sermon notes take from a book called Yes, Lord, I Have Sinned: But I Have Several Excellent by James W. Moore.)

Let me start out by asking you all a question tonight!

• Have you ever been reduced to embarrassed silence?

o the kind that comes for a sense of shame

o from doing wrong and being found out

It happened to the disciples

• Jesus is heading towards Jerusalem and the cross

• His disciples begin to bicker and argue about which one of them is the greatest in the Kingdom!

Let’s take a look at Jesus for a second

• He is moving steadfast toward the cross

• His face is set towards Jerusalem

• Resolved & committed

• He has to be thinking of the upcoming events

o Ready to do God’s will

o Determined to stand tall and firm

o Strike a blow for justice

o Ready to face it head on, whatever it may be

Let’s take a look at the Disciples

• Walking behind Jesus

• Misunderstanding the Kingdom

• They were thinking in selfish, materialistic terms

• Bickering about who is the greatest

• Each one seeing themselves for much more then they really were

• They did not think Jesus could hear them

Mark 9:33-34 NLT- After they arrived at Capernaum, Jesus and his disciples settled in the house where they would be staying. Jesus asked them, "What were you discussing out on the road?" (34) But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.

But they did not answer?

Other Versions word it:

• But they were keeping silent

• But they held their peace

• But they said nothing

• And they remained silent

• And they held their peace

• But they would not answer him

Why could they not answer Him?

• They we silence by their shame

• Embarrassed so much they could not speak

• So ashamed of their pettiness that they were speechless

This brings up some very interesting questions does it not?

• If Jesus knew what we were doing in our lives today, would we be embarrassed?

• If Christ heard what we have been saying, would we be ashamed?

• What if he knew what we are thinking and feeling, would that leave us speechless?

Haven’t we all be reduced to and embarrassed shameful silence?

Some examples we may have gotten caught in:

• Gossip – the person we are talking about walks up

• Reading magazines that we shouldn’t be reading – Mom or Dad walks in

• Men/Woman exchanging shady stories – one person who respects you at the most profane moment

• Wasting time at work – Boss walks in

Do any of these sound familiar?

Now take it to a deeper level and imagine what the disciples were feeling!

They were silenced in 3 areas:

• Their ruthless ambitions

• Their Jealousy

• Their Hostility

They were silence by their Ruthless Ambition

Ambition in itself is a good thing

• We all want to be important

• We all want recognition

• We want to achieve distinction

Ambition becomes bad when:

• It becomes distorted or misused

• It becomes selfish and ruthless

• It becomes our driving force over everything

Let’s look back at the disciples and their driving force

• That’s what the disciples were making it.

o They had the I will get ahead attitude

o They had the I don’t care who I hurt attitude

o They had the I will step or push you out of the way

• It became very selfish and ruthless, all about them

• James and John had asked Jesus for the top positions

o Mark 10:35 – They asked

 Matthew says that this request was made by Salome their mother

 but though she made the request as from herself

 yet it is evident that they had set her upon the business

 Jesus, knew where it came, immediately He addressed the sons

o Matthew 20:20 – Matthew tried to soften it and say mother

• Their ambition was secure themselves a high slot

• They were thinking of themselves way more then others.


This story is about an old man who was told he could claim all the land he could walk around in one day, from sunrise to sunset. The man jumped at the opportunity. He began to walk leisurely, glad for his strong legs, but as he walked the lure for more and more stirred within him. If he walked faster he could circle more land. The farther he went the more he wanted, and soon he began to run. He burned with fever, he gasped for breath, but he could not stop nor rest. One word – more – sounded in his brain. At last the sun began to sink and his legs began to fail. He threw off his shirt and then his boots. His heart was pounding like a drum. Forcing his body to the utmost, just as the sun fell beyond the horizon; hr lunged forward and touched the goal with his finger tips. He made it! But he had really failed, for he dropped dead. They took a shovel and gave him his land – a strip of soil, six by two for his grave!

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