26th May 2023
Read - Mark 10:41-45
Message Alan Burke
How would you feel if you found one of your mates was trying to get one over on you, you were in for the same job or promotion and they slagged you off in their interview? Or how about you spotted a piece of furniture that you’d wanted for a long time, when the local furniture shop rang to tell you they had got one in but by the time you got there someone had beaten you to it only to find out the person you had told in excitement now had it as pride of place in their front room? We could think of different senecios but it’s not nice when your mates, trying or not get one over on you. Here we pick up and the rest of the disciples find out about what James and John had asked of Jesus and we are told they became indignant.
We are not told of the reason, but I think it is pretty obvious and that is because they equally wanted greatness, that is what they were all aspiring to. None of them had grasped the fullness of what Jesus had come to do, none of them had grasped the wonder of what he had taught them already about greatness, and now with the request of James and John the question of greatness and what that means comes to the forefront once again. Again these disciples who had been taught by Jesus already about greatness still hadn’t understood, so Jesus gives them the example of the rulers of the Gentiles and how they lord it over them. Gentiles are those who are outside the people of God, ie this is the pagan view of greatness Jesus is teaching about, it is the view of greatness of this world.
Look to the rich and the powerful of this world, the whose who and how did they get there and how do they treat others. While here we may have a democracy and so called free media if that was removed then we would see the sinful hearts of men and women seek to lord it over others. We see that in this world, powerful individuals who lord their power over others, but the Jesus model, the model of scripture is something completely different, because the model of this pagan world is not to be the model of the disciples and it is not to be our model as the church. For those who desire greatness are to serve, they are to be the servant of others, there is a large part of me and if we are honest everyone of us who doesn’t like this teaching of Jesus because we are all aspiring for greatness, we all want more, we all want power, wealth, maybe not the fame but we want greatness.
Whereas Jesus explains what it is to be great, we must be a servant, we must be a slave, and Jesus in his life and death showed what it was to be a servant, let’s not miss that, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (Phil 2:6), he took upon him the form of a servant, in his conception and birth, life, death, and after his death, until his resurrection. While the disciples still did not understand the fullness of what Jesus was teaching, there would be one day in their not to distant future that they would indeed understand. For the Lord Jesus Christ paid the ransomed us from the wrath of God, that is those who have repented and believed. It means that we although we are by our nature his enemies need never fear his wrath, for the wrath of God was placed upon our saviour so that we might be the redeemed of God. And you know there is nothing that can reverse that salvation that we have been brought, it should lead us all the more to desire to turn from sin to live for our saviour Jesus Christ.
Q56 What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
The reason annexed to the third commandment is, That however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment. (1 Sam. 2:12,17,22,29, 1 Sam. 3:13, Deut. 28:58–59)