Mark: According to
Going to Jerusalem
32 “Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 ‘Behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.’”
Usually Jesus walked with his disciples, but because of the events that were soon to come were weighing so heavenly on his mind, he walked ahead of his disciples. This amazed the disciples and also caused to be afraid. Eventually it came time for them to Rest and so Jesus took the twelve to a quiet place just off the roadway.
Never had Jesus used such plain language as He had this time when speaking of the nearness of His crucifixion. The solemnity of this final approach to Jerusalem fully reflected in the demeanor of Jesus and for the disciples, this caused great amazement and also filled their hearts with anxiety. The twelve disciples knew full well of the efforts of the priests and other religious leaders to take the life of Christ yet failed to grasp the fact that on this trip to Jerusalem, the priests and Pharisees would be successful.
How little did they understand? When they had started again toward Jerusalem, James and John the sons of Zebedee came to Him asking: “Teacher we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And Jesus said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I think, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 But to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
This was quite the request that James and John asked of Jesus and showed how little they really comprehended Jesus mission here on earth. After nearly three and a half years, they still failed to grasp the true nature of Jesus kingdom and that Jesus came to become the embodiment of sin and die the death that all sinners should die. What kind of death would this be? Death that was total separation from His Heavenly Father. We will explore this concept in a future post. In the meantime, it is sufficient to say, that the disciples and vast majority of the Jewish people totally failed to understand the true reason Jesus had come. They were looking and hoping for a conquering hero to drive the Romans out of Jerusalem.
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 41 But Jesus called them to Himself 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. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 and whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Throughout Christ’s ministry he had led by example. Not once in the Biblical record can we find an instance in which Christ expected others to serve him. Instead, he often spent the night in prayer and his days in service to all those around. To those that came for physical healing He healed and all those that required spiritual healing he taught. To the grieving widow He raised her only son. To the blind man he gave sight and to the crippled, He gave restored life and use of body and intellect.
So it should be for all leaders within the church today. It is not what the people can do for the leadership, it is the leadership serving the people that empowers the people to make new disciples for Christ. When leadership, led by the Holy Spirit serves their local congregation and community, it is then that kingdom growth begins and the church grows and becomes vibrant.
When James and John asked Jesus to exalt them above the other disciples the reaction of the other ten is the same as what happens in congregations when we seek positions of greatness instead of endeavoring to lead by serving. When we seek and attain positions of leadership with the idea of lording and not serving, then others become jealous of our position and status, and eventually these turn into rifts within the church. I have even seen this cause churches to split and all those involved to suffer spiritually and even physically.
Jesus is our example for He showed us the Father and as the Father and all heaven serves mankind in the plan of salvation, then we too as individuals and churches should follow the example of God the Father and His son, we also should serve our brothers and sisters in Christ doing our part in service to all.