Summary: What is your greatest aspiration in life? Are you like James and John who aspired a closer relationship with Christ?
Theme: Spiritually Ambitious
Text: Mark 10:35-42
A. In every funeral service, lengthy eulogies would not be missed to hear. But, what is its purpose?
B. Newspapers give space for obituaries. What are they for? It is man’s last attempt to impress the world that he does matter; that he’s important; that his death is a great loss to the world. But it’s not important what others would see or say about you. What ultimately does matter will be what God says.
C. Given a single life that soon will pass, what do you plan to do with it? How do you want to spend it? What ambition you want to achieve that somehow makes your existence something remarkable?
D. Talking about ambition?
> The world is full of ambitious people!
> There are those who aspire for popularity;
> Some aspire to remain young. They spent much on health supplements and cosmetics.
> Some aspire for higher education, greater position, and bigger possession.
> Things that are passing.
> Well it’s not wrong to look for these things.
> But the question is: Do we aspire for spiritual things? Are you spiritually ambitious?
E. In the passage we read, two of the 12 disciples, came to Jesus and asked one thing, which I think, very uncommon. “Grant that we sit with you in your glory…” was the request of James and John.
F. Most commentaries tell us that these two disciples wanted prominence among the group. But the fact that Christ did not rebuke them will give us the clue that what they asked was not offending to Jesus. So it was not a request for prominence, or for self-aggrandizement. In contrast, I see them very different from other disciples. Their outlook, their ambition was very rare –they were spiritually ambitious people. They aspired for spiritual things.
T.S. Let us study the story closer.
1. THE REQUEST OF JAMES AND JOHN.
Ø What is the intention behind this request of James and John? What did they desire and aspire revealed in their request?
1) They aspired for an intimate relational position in Christ.
a) They wanted to be at the side of Jesus. They were not satisfied with just a relationship; they aspired for intimacy! 3 years with Jesus was not enough to them, they longed for eternal intimacy with Him. They were already close to Jesus, but they wanted more, they wanted to position and place themselves closer to Him. This is the blazing desire of the song “All I want is more of You”.
b) I don’t know if this were the ambition of many of us. This is the most unpopular ambition, as far as my observation is concerned, because many people are contented to live in their shallow Christian life.
c) James and John were not satisfied just to know and see the Presence of Jesus; they wanted to feel it. They wanted to sit beside Him so that they would feel the warm touch of His Presence. “Oh that we experience more of Jesus!”
d) Yes, we’re not looking for mere experience, but there’s something wrong with our Christianity at its heart when we don’t feel the warmth and the life-giving touch of God’s Presence. The absence of feeling is a sign of distance. Without the emotion, everything will become mechanical, lifeless, and dull.
e) This is the reason God commanded us to “Love the Lord with all your heart…” as He has infinitely loved us. Blackaby said: “To love God and be loved by Him is the highest position and the highest achievement in life.”
f) We don’t just be satisfied that we’re part of the family of God, we have to enjoy our relationship with Him. Enjoy His Fatherhood! Aspire intimacy with Him, for He is your loving Father!
g) I’m with my children since their birth. Everyday I’m with them –eat with them, and often play with them. But look, they want to sit on my lap and sleep beside me. They want, not just to see and know I’m there, but want to feel my presence. Likewise, let’s not just be contented to know that God is always there for us –guiding, protecting, and providing, but feel the realness of His presence.
2) They aspired for greater kingdom responsibilities.
a) It’s hard to look for people who are ready and willing to give more than what they give or would have given.
b) James and John, although were very happy of their present status and ministry with Jesus, wanted to give more of their lives for the work of the Lord. They wanted to give more than what they have given. Look, they still were willing to be on the list of those who work in the kingdom of God, even in the afterlife!