MS WEEK #29: Ruling by Serving

Ian Wheeler speaking on Mark 10:32-45. He spoke of how Jesus brings an upside down reality to earth, the reality in which God intended from the beginning where ruling looks like being a servant.

  • There’s this series called “Planet of the Apes”. They are genetically modified apes and they interact with these humans. Some get captured by the humans and they are walking to where all the apes are being held up. You know something is about to go down. The tension has been building to this moment. You know something is  going to happen but you know that its not going to be good.
  • This is similar to what Jesus is doing. This tension is building, but Jesus tells them whats going to happen.

32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” 

  • In my example of Planet of the Apes, this leader ape is coming in to redeem his fellow apes. How weird would it be if the leader said, “I’m going to hand myself over so that I will die. I will be delivered to those who are against me, they will mock me, they will kill me.”
  • But this is what Jesus does.
  • The hope of those around him is going to be crushed but they are not listening to the second part of the last verse. Their hope is crushed by this idea that their king is going to be killed.
  • But Jesus will rise from the dead. This was part of God’s plan from the beginning of time. But in this moment, these disciples are looking for a savior, but this is not how they thought it would play out. 
  • This is the Gospel, the king will become a servant. He will allow himself to be delivered to the humans he created so that he can save them from their sins.
  • That is what ruling looks like. Ruling looks like serving humbly in the kingdom of God. 
  • Jesus brings an upside down reality to earth. This idea of ruling and reigning over people is actually not a part of God’s kingdom.
  • The fall back in Genesis 3 changed the world deeply. When we sinned and partook of the fruit, we were put under a curse. We wanted to rule each other, when we were meant to rule creation. We turned the order upside down.
  • Look at leaders today. What are they seen as? Powerful, ruling over people strongly, They are rich and high in society.
  • Look at Jesus, this humble servant who was poor, low in society, and loves all who he interacts with. Jesus flips it back the right way and gives us clear understanding of what that should look like.
  • Our values as Christians should be different than the world around us.


35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

  • Just think about the situation. These disciples have been with Jesus for about 3 years and they have done a lot of life tougher. What if your sibling or best friend ask you, Hey will you do whatever I ask you for me? I would hesitate to answer because you have no clue what the motives are for that statement.
  • If my brother ask me that question I would take a long pause and probably ask him a few questions before I answered
  • But Jesus replied with “ What do you want me to do for you?”
  • Let’s see what they ask.

37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

  • There was a time when I was a kid where I wanted to be a pilot. I would spend time watching videos and playing on a flight simulator. It was something that I really wanted to do. As I grew up and saw what it actually took to be a pilot it became a lot less appealing. There were tons of hours away from home, I would be working holidays. Autopilot basically automatically takes you where you need to go, and where’s the fun in that?
  • As a kid I didn’t know the cost it took to be a pilot. James and John are the same way. They have no idea the cost that it takes to hold that title. Jesus asks them if they are able to go through the judgment.
  • James and John both face persecution. James is a martyr for his faith. John is exiled to Patmos for his faith. So much like them, we also have persecution in our lives. It might not be to this extent, but it still affects us and we can take hope and persevere because we’ve seen Jesus persevere through his judgment.
  • Jesus shows his submission to the father and the role of the father here.

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

  • I am sure there was jealousy between he disciples.They all wanted these types of roles. They knew what the Messiah was going to do and they wanted to reign with Jesus in power. Their immediate response was anger and jealousy.
  • Jesus shows the upside down values that He brings. James and John are looking at the kingdom the wrong way. They could understand that Jesus was going to rule, but they weren’t sure how that was going to look. These kings of the day ruled over others and the Roman Empire prided themselves on ruling, capturing, and subduing people. There was a crazy hierarchy. This is what the disciples are wanting.
  • But it’s not a place of power but of humble worship of our God. Jesus shows us how Christians should live. We should not be exercising authority over people. We should serve and we should do it humbly.
  • Why do we want control and power? It comes back to our sin. It goes back to the fall of humanity. God gives us these rules to live by, but as Satan creeps in, he tempts. 
  • Jesus calls us to love others as ourselves by serving. This goes against our natural desires. Because with Jesus, ruling looks like serving.

45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

  • God himself, Creator and ruler of all came into time and humanity to serve. He is a suffering servant that Isaiah has talked about, not as a king but as a servant. 
  • To give up his life as a ransom for many. A ransom is a payment. If someone has a debt, the payment for that is called a ransom. The bible is clear that we actually have a debt, and that debt comes through our sin. We are all in debt to God.We have all sinned and have a payment due, and that payment is death, our sin requires death. There is no way that we can pay that payment. 
  • But Jesus has been our ransom Jesus died to pay for our sin, he was our ransom. He then rose from the grave showing his power over sin and death. Now if we place our faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection our debt is paid. We inherit his righteousness. Our record is clean before God the father on judgment day. God sees us through Jesus’ righteousness, and not through our sin.
  • So what does this mean for us today?
  • How are we serving others? How are we loving those in our relationships? Are we looking to get things out of people or are we serving them, just how Jesus has served us?

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