Summary: Exposition of Mark 10:35-45 about discipleship and leadership
Text: Mark 10:35-45, Title: The Life of a Leading Disciple, Date/Place: NRBC, 4/13/08, PM
A. Opening illustration: A Sunday School teacher told her class of 2nd graders the story found in Luke 16 of the Rich man and Lazarus. How that when they were here upon the earth the rich man had everything that money could buy and poor Lazarus had to beg for mere crumbs. But when they died, the rich man due to his selfishness went to a place of horrible torment while Lazarus went to a place of paradise. In conclusion, the teacher asked her students the question: "Now, which man would you rather be, Lazarus or the rich man?" One little boy’s hand shot up immediately and he said, "Well, while I’m alive I want to live like the rich man, but when I die I want to be like Lazarus."
B. Background to passage: Jesus is still continuing on his way to Jerusalem steadfastly. He is still teaching about discipleship and kingdom values as they go. He has just informed them for the third time about his impending death in Jerusalem. And it goes in one ear, and out the other. So here come the Sons of Thunder. In the parallel passage it also includes their mother. Preach a little on family control issues.
C. Main thought: In the text, Jesus uses the opportunity of the disciples’ failure to grasp upcoming events as a teachable moment about what the life of a disciple who leads should look like.
A. Not built on selfish ambition or jealousy (v. 37, 41)
1. Notice that they asked for a blank check response up from, like they knew this request was a little shady. Remember they did get one thing right—Jesus will sit in glory. But everything else they got wrong. They were completely in line with the world, jockeying for position, for they can tell that the inauguration of the kingdom is coming in Jerusalem, even if they don’t realize what kind of kingdom is coming. They are looking out for number one. They want the best, deserve the best, and will do what it takes to get it, even bribe God at the expense of their own brethren. Then the other disciples were upset, probably not because these two were being unChristlike, but more likely that they had beaten them to the punch. These two disciples did what the rest really wanted to do.
2. Php 2:3-4, 2 Cor 12:20, Gal 5:19-21,
3. Illustration: Married people can’t be happy and consistently selfish; A friend told me about a man who had come to him with a prayer request. He had purchased a lottery ticket that would pay him $100,000 if it turned out to be the "lucky" one. He asked my friend, who was a pastor, to pray that his number would be picked so he could give one-tenth of his winnings to the Lord. The minister hesitated, the said, "All right, but first let me ask you this: Are you willing to give God the same percentage of your present weekly income?" The fellow looked surprised and dismayed. "B-b-but I need that to live on," he stammered. This man’s heart was not right with God. His seemingly spiritual request was merely a cover-up for selfishness. A fascinating study on the principle of the Golden Rule was conducted by Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research. Rimland found that "The happiest people are those who help others." Each person involved in the study was asked to list ten people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish, using the following definition of selfishness: a stable tendency to devote one’s time and resources to one’s own interests and welfare--an unwillingness to inconvenience one’s self for others." In categorizing the results, Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those "whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness...are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy"
4. The core sin in just about every other sin is selfishness. Doing what I want my way for my glory comes very natural to us. It invades or marriages, our prayer lives, our finances, and destroys everything and everyone around us. But as believers we should be serious and persistent about killing this mindset in our lives. This kinda of behavior or attitude turns Christianity on its head. But it is prevalent in the church. How many deacon elections have you see become popularity contests? How many people get upset when they don’t get the best seat or the best part or the first part, or the right class, or the best hotel, or whatever. Evaluate our prayer requests based on whether or not we are covering for selfishness. We do not deserve the best, in fact, we should thank God we don’t get what we deserve. We should seriously consider the reality of our own depravity and their implications toward any grace gift or position that we are given.