Devotional #28 (4/8/13). Jesus: God the Servant.
Intro: Last week Jesus talked about divorce and the love of money but we ended with the idea that the person who tries to be first will end up being last and the person who is humble and OK with being last will end up being first. Now the story continues as Jesus makes His final trip to Jerusalem where He will be killed.
This Week’s Reading: Mark 10:32-52.
vv. 32-34. The group that is afraid is differentfrom the 12 disciples but probably pilgrims going to Jerusalem for Passover (Source 1). They were afraid because they knew something big was going to happen but didn’t know what. Jesus does take the 12 aside and explain to them exactly how He must die. Jesus was in control of the situation from entering Jerusalem to arrest to death to resurrection, knowing every detail, since He was fulfilling Scripture.
vv. 35-37. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad how the disciples completely missed what Jesus had just said (and had been saying and would continue to say)! Have you ever started a conversation with “Promise me you’ll do this favor” or “Promise you won’t tell anyone what I’m about to tell you”? That’s what James and John do here. They don’t want Jesus to say “no” because they want to be His second in command. They think He is going to overthrow the Romans and they jump at the chance to get the top spot. Not only did they completely miss what Jesus said from last week (the “first will be last”) and what He just said (that He had to die…in other words He wasn’t setting up an earthly kingdom now) but from Matthew 20:20 we see that their mom was also involved. She was trying to get her boys into the top spot.
vv. 38-40. Jesus tells them that they have no idea what they are asking then explains what they would have to do to be His second in command right then. They would have to suffer and bear the sin of the world, then they foolishly argue with Him. But their argument does bring out a future truth: that they would suffer for Jesus but it wouldn’t bring about the worldly fame they wanted. Then Jesus explains that He doesn’t give the honor of sitting on right or left (highest positions of prestige) for selfish ambition (Source 1, p. 1483). But we must have faith that Jesus will reward us properly for what we have suffered for Him (Source 2, p. 188).
vv. 41-45.This section is incredible because Jesus is talking about His disciples but He is also talking about Himself! The humility it took to be God in heaven and come down to earth being the “God Man” is amazing, He used Himself as an example of what He is teaching. The other 10 disciples are jealous of the 2 who tried to elbow their way to the top—probably mad at themselves for not thinking of it first! Jesus explained with the illustration of the captors they hated, the Romans, and that the disciples were trying to do the same thing. But Jesus explains His kingdom is a paradox. The most powerful are the biggest servants. God uses shepherd boys as kings and violent political activists as disciples. Jesus first came as a humble sacrifice (the Lamb) but His Second Coming will show His other side: the Fierce Warrior (The Lion). We are blessed to be in the age of Grace where men are still given the chance to choose the Lamb but it will be a fearful thing to be in opposition to the Righteous Judge.
vv. 46-52. Jesus went through Jericho which was about 15 miles from Jerusalem and saw two beggars (asMatthew 20:30) but here deals with the blind one who called to Him (Source 1, p. 1484). The man recognizes Him as the Messiah (“Son of David”) and asks for mercy. The crowd around the man told him to stop annoying Jesus but Jesus hears the faith and persistence in his voice and stops. He takes the time to love Him and stand still. It is much easier for a blind man to get to a stationary target then a moving one! So the man is encouraged, throws off his jacket (anything that could have slowed him down) and asks for sight. The man didn’t want to be a burden on others any more (Source 2, p. 189) and wanted to work for his living. Jesus heals him and the man follows Jesus, not just right away but follows Him spiritually for the rest of his life.
Conclusion: Jesus often tells us things very clearly but we don’t want to listen (like the disciples who just want to be powerful). But Jesus is patient and faithful to teach us, sometimes through pain, so that we help others to know Him. We will have a reward (much more than we deserve, since we don’t even deserve being rescued from hell!) but selfish goals are not why we serve. We serve because Jesus told us to and we can’t help but do it when He gave His life as a servant. Our temporary life on earth is the testing ground and if we recognize what God did for us then we gladly receive eternal life in heaven as the richest poor people ever!!
Source 1: John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible.
Source 2: Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, NT.