PRAY: Ask God to open your eyes to the truth of His Word and how it applies to your life. Ask Him to conform you to the image of His Son, rather than to the world.

READ: Mark 10:32-45

“On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all” (Mark 10:43-44).

In this passage, Jesus openly predicts His trial, suffering, death, and resurrection. This is actually the third time in three chapters of Mark that Jesus has foretold these events. Amazingly, while knowing these things would happen, Jesus is heading straight to Jerusalem – the seat of power for those who were plotting to kill Him. This makes clear that Jesus’ sacrificial death for us was by no means an accident; it was by no means the taking of Jesus’ life from Him against His will. Rather, He willingly laid down His life for our forgiveness and the glory of His Father.

In this passage, Jesus’ behavior in His selfless sacrifice contrasts very strongly with the ways of the world and even the ways of Jesus’ disciples. James and John secretly approach Jesus and try to get first dibs on the two places of greatest honor in Jesus’ coming kingdom. When the other disciples hear that the sons of Zebedee had tried to bump them out of line, they get pretty mad.

In response to all the anger and competition in the group of people who are supposed to be acting like Jesus, the Savior points out that they are instead acting like the rulers of this world – jostling for position, promoting themselves, and seeking to be first so that they can take advantage of others. This is not at all how Jesus has taught or shown them how to live. Greatness in God’s kingdom does not come by exalting yourself above others; greatness in God’s economy comes by humbling yourself, serving others, and putting their needs before your own.

Jesus’ open predictions of His sacrificial death point to the fact that He always practiced what He preached: there has been no greater example of humbling oneself than Jesus’ example. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the Name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:8-9). He came in humility and service, purchasing our forgiveness with the ransom price of His blood; He is now exalted above all other names.


Reflection Questions:

1. Where do you find yourself thinking like the world in pride, self-promotion, and jealousy?

2. Think it through: what are some of the amazing things about Jesus’ humility and sacrifice?

3. How is God calling you to lay your own agenda aside to serve Him and minister to others?


Memorize: Mark 10:45

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”