SUFFERING AND SACRIFICIAL SERVICE IS THE PATH TO GREATNESS IN THE KINGDOM – NOT SELF-SEEKING AND SELF-PROMOTION
Illustration: Brian Billick book — Competitive Leadership: Twelve Principles for Success
– Be Values Oriented
– Be Prepared
– Be Self Disciplined
– Be Knowledgeable
– Be Performance Oriented
– Be a Communicator
– Be a Motivator
– Be a Problem Solver
– Be a Team Builder
– Be Opportunistic
– Be Self Assured
– Be Courageous
What is missing? Be a SERVANT!
Following the introduction of Brian Borgman – going to Amazon.com to look for books on topic of Leadership — 228,829 results for “leadership”
Refining search: “servanthood model” – 43 results — mostly church related books about office of deacon, etc.
We are continuing in the same themes as we come to the third of these 3 passion prophecies in the central portion of Mark’s Gospel (8:31, 9:31); Always followed by a response of self-seeking and self-promotion on the part of the apostles; Teaching of Jesus centered around the contrast between the world’s concept of greatness and how to be great in the kingdom of God
MacArthur: The path to greatness is not the world’s way, it’s God’s way. The world’s way works in the world. God’s way works in the Kingdom.
I. (:32-34) THIRD PASSION PROPHECY –
EMPHASIZING SUFFERING BEFORE GLORY
A. (:32) Confidence and Courage Require Repeated and Reinforced Revelation
1. Destination Determined
“And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem,”
“going up” –
– speaks to the terrain; heading to higher ground; Jerusalem is only twenty miles from Jericho but 3,500 feet higher in elevation
– speaks to the Psalms of Ascents (120-134) – going up to worship in the Temple; Jesus bringing Himself as the lamb of sacrifice
2. Destiny Embraced by the Master
“and Jesus was walking on ahead of them;”
Imperfect tense – ongoing action; somewhat unusual and so noted by Mark; imagine what was going through His mind
Is. 50:6-7 voice of Messiah
Sproul: Jesus did not linger. He moved quickly, keeping ahead of His disciples, going to His death with a firm step. Most of us, if we knew we were going to our deaths, would drag our feet. Something in the look of his eyes and the purposeful intention of his stride that inspired amazement
Hendriksen: He already senses something of the perfidy, the hypocrisy, the calumny, the mockery, the pain, and the shame which like an avalanche threatens to overwhelm him. Yet, he does not retreat or even stand still. With unflinching determination he walks right into it, for he knows that this is necessary in order that his people may be saved.
I’m happy to postpone my routine doctor and dentist trips and put them off as long as possible.
3. Dread Overwhelming the Disciples
a. The Twelve Were Amazed
“and they were amazed,”
at the demeanor and submission of Jesus – how could He be so determined to head to Jerusalem when He knew the awful suffering that awaited Him there; commitment to obedience to His heavenly Father
Jesus was focused on His mission of going to the Cross to sacrifice His life as a ransom for many
b. The Other Followers Were Alarmed
“and those who followed were fearful.”
for what lay ahead for themselves – cf. John 9:22; 11:8, 57 – might not be a good thing to be associated with Jesus in Jerusalem
MacArthur: The word “fearful” is basically a word that refers to a kind of fear that is a baffling kind of fear. There was some confusion with them. They’re still sort of caught up in the Messianic idea of Judaism, that He’s going to set up His Kingdom, and yet they’ve heard about the things that He said with regard to His death. Their hope is very low and they’re baffled and they’re confused, and it’s that kind of fear. Why is He doing this? Why is He walking in to this deadly danger? . . .
He not only knew what was coming by prophetic Scripture and a perfect knowledge of its interpretation, but He knew what was coming by personal omniscience.
4. Details Communicated to Calm Their Fears
“And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them
what was going to happen to Him,”
B. (:33-35) One Must Embrace Suffering Before Glory
1. Understanding and Embracing the Suffering That Awaits
a. Delivered Over to the Religious Rulers
1) Based in Jerusalem
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem,”
2) Chief Priests and Scribes
“and the Son of Man will be delivered
to the chief priests and the scribes;”
Sanhedrin – the Supreme Court of the Jews; here the elders are omitted;
b. Delivered Over to the Political Rulers
“and they will condemn Him to death,”
2) Presented for Execution
“and will deliver Him to the Gentiles.”
Sproul: On the Day of Atonement in ancient Israel, an animal was killed and its blood was spread on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, then the sins of the people were symbolically transferred to the back of the scapegoat, which then was driven out into the wilderness, outside the camp, into the outer darkness (Leviticus 16). That was what it meant to a Jew to be delivered to the Gentiles. To be placed into the hands of the Gentiles was to be sent outside the covenant community, outside the camp, outside the place where the presence of God was concentrated and focused.
c. Executed After Humiliating Treatment
1) Humiliating Treatment
“And they will mock Him and spit upon Him, and scourge Him,”
more specific details in this account; leads liberals to claim that this account was not a prophecy but recorded only after the fact; that Jesus did not lay out such specific details in advance of the events – Luke 9:31 – Jesus certainly had advance prep to fill him in on the upcoming details
2) Final Execution
“and kill Him,”
But this is not the end of the story
2. Understanding and Embracing the Glory That Will Result
“and three days later He will rise again.”.
Luke 18:34 – once again the Twelve failed to grasp this pivotal teaching about suffering that precedes the glory to follow
II. (:35-45) CONTRAST BETWEEN FLESHLY LEADERSHIP AND SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP
A (:35-37) Presumptuous Request for Exalted Position of Power and Prestige
1. (:35) Request Rooted in Sense of Entitlement and Self Absorption
“And James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Him, saying to Him, ‘Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”
Do we come to Jesus with just a non-ending list of selfish requests = essentially demands – without regard for the program of God and what will enhance His glory?
Here asking Jesus in effect to sign a blank check – haven’t you promised to give us our requests whatever we ask??
Matthew records that the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus and made the request; but she was accompanied by her sons and they obviously were all involved in seeking these positions of prominence;
Hendriksen: their mother Salome . . . seems to have been a sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus (cf. Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25) [making them cousins of Jesus]
Phil. 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit”
Edwards: Following each of Jesus’ passion predictions in 8:31, 9:31, and 10:33-34, the disciples jockey for position and prestige. The request of James and John in v. 37 is the third and most blatant example of human self-centeredness in contrast to Jesus’ humility and self-sacrifice.
2. (:36-37) Request Rooted in Ignorance of God’s Overall Program and Inflated Opinion of Self
“And He said to them, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’”
Disciples still wrongly focused only on the expectation of glory
Similar response to 9:31
Answer will indicate whether James and John are seeking glory of God or their own glory
Look at the nature of the kingdom they expected – physical and on earth; millennial kingdom
Critical Error: We are SPECIAL – Jesus needs our ministry; we need to be catered to and treated as the important ministers that we are
Borgman: But He alone is our benefactor upon whom we rely for everything; Ps. 123:2 – look to whom as the one who supplies all of your needs; there are a lot of Pharisees who thought they were serving God – God has no needs; He is self-sufficient; if you view yourself as the critical role of getting God’s work done as if He needed you, then you are in error; you can never put God in debt to you; God is not served by human hands as if he needed anything – Acts 17:25
Sproul: quotes pagan philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: what distinguishes man from the animals is not our ability to think but the will to power, the drive within every human being to conquer, to climb the ladder, to reach the highest place of exaltation. Some theologians have argued that sin is simply virtue run amok, because God plants in the heart of every creature an aspiration for significance, but we bend that good aspiration into a desire to dominate others.
Hiebert: Clearly, they did not hold that Jesus had assigned the position of primacy to Peter
B. (:38-40) Patient Response Promises Suffering But Defers on the Question of Preferential Positions in the Kingdom
1. (:38) Ignorance Regarding What Lies Ahead for Jesus
“But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking for.
Are you able to drink the cup that I drink,
or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?’”
Drinking a cup = fully undergoing a particular experience
Edwards: In the OT, a “cup” usually symbolizes something allotted by God. It can signify joy and prosperity (Pss 16:5; 23:5; 116:13), but more frequently it signifies God’s judgment and wrath. . . With reference to himself, “cup” and “baptism” signify the unique way charted for him by God and the means by which his atoning “ransom” (10:45) will be achieved. With reference to the disciples the same imagery refers to the persecutions (v. 30) that they will reap as a consequence of following him. . . Verse 39 seems best read as a reminder and renewed call to discipleship, which ineluctably entails sacrifice and suffering.
Baptized = to be immersed, overwhelmed; plunged into
2. (:39a) Ignorance Regarding What Lies Ahead for the Disciples —
“And they said to Him, ‘We are able.’”
MacArthur: That is arrogant over-confidence, audacious, ridiculous. It’s like Peter in Luke 22, he says, “I will never betray You, I will never betray You,” and then he goes and does it. It’s an over-estimation based on pride. This is typical of human pride. It is self-promoting. It is inordinately and selfishly ambitious. It is arrogantly over-confident. It assumes that it can accomplish anything. Isn’t that characteristic of our world today in people’s attitudes? It’s ugly, it’s absolutely ugly. And, of course, they couldn’t…they couldn’t handle it. They couldn’t handle it. In Matthew 26 verse 31, the Lord quotes the Old Testament prophecy about striking the shepherd and the sheep being scattered and in Matthew 26:56 it says, “They all forsook Him and fled.” They couldn’t handle it. Here they wanted all the glory in the Kingdom, they wouldn’t be there when the trial came, they ran for their lives.
3. (:39b-40) Patient Response of Clarification
a. (:39b) Promising Suffering After the Pattern of Jesus
“And Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you shall drink;
and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.’”
Hiebert: They would share the cup and baptism, although obviously their sufferings would not have the redemptive character of His own sufferings [and in the case of John would not extend to actual martyrdom]
b. (:40) Deferring on the Question of Preferential Positions in the Kingdom
“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give;
but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
Great statement of divine sovereignty – God the Father had already predetermined the outcome from all eternity
C. (:41-45) Pattern Reversal for Spiritual Leadership = Sacrificially Serving Others
1. (:41) Fleshly Leadership Rooted in Pride with Goal of Self Advancement
“And hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.”
2. (:42-44) Spiritual Leadership Looks Nothing Like Fleshly Leadership
a. (:42) Pattern of Fleshly Leadership = Lording Over Others
“And calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, ‘You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them;
and their great men exercise authority over them.’”
b. (:43-44) Pattern of Spiritual Leadership = Serving Others
“But it is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”
3. (:45) Spiritual Leadership Modeled by Sacrificial Service of the Son of Man
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Signature text of Mark’s Gospel
Edwards: This model of ministry cannot come from the secular order, but only from the unique way of Jesus, which defies the logic of this world and it fascination with dominance, control, yields, results, and outcomes. The key to the model both incarnated and commanded by Jesus is in the verbs “to serve” and “to give.” The reason why a servant is the most preeminent position in the kingdom of God is that the sole function of a servant is to give, and giving is the essence of God. . . The death of the Son of Man on behalf of “the many” is a sacrifice of obedience to God’s will, a full expression of his love, and a full satisfaction of God’s justice.
“for” – anti – instead of – substitutionary death
Phil. 2 gives us the path to exaltation, to greatness in the kingdom