God’s Word for You
Mark 10:41-44 servant of all
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, April 2, 2021
41 When the ten heard about this, they began to get angry with James and John, 42 but Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great leaders exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be servant of all.
We don’t know how the other disciples heard about the incident with James and John and their mother. It could be that James or John had so misunderstood Jesus that they had gone back to boast about it, or it could be that the exchange was overheard. The versions by Matthew and Mark are very nearly identical, but Matthew (always a potential eyewitness in the synoptic Gospels) says no more about it. The reaction of the ten is the thing to be noticed. They began to get angry, but Jesus stopped this before it got out of hand. There need to be rulers, leaders in the world. There must be authority of some kind or there will be anarchy, chaos, a complete loss of conscience and any sense of moral responsibility. Yesterday’s mischievous festival (April Fool’s Day) is intended to be a reminder of this, since the shenanigans (always intended to take place before noon, otherwise the prankster becomes the Fool) upset the usual order of things, but then order is always restored.
Jesus does not touch on the habits of Jewish rulers, but he uses the rulers of the Gentiles to make his point: They lord themselves over their people, emphasizing their greatness or abusing their power, or both. Jesus quietly acknowledges his disciples as the future leaders of the church when he says, “Not so with you.” They should be leaders who serve, who lead by example, who are strong with their gentleness, fierce with their compassion, and overwhelming with the proclamation of the gospel. Paul said, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
Loving your neighbor begins with honoring and respecting your parents, and God has given us all of the commandments that follow the Fourth as the pattern and basic standard for showing love to our neighbor. Do not harm or abuse them, do not abuse the gift of marriage, do not steal, do not damage a reputation or give false testimony, and don’t even covet what isn’t yours. These good works follow faith and should flow from faith.
Christ showed what he meant by becoming the supreme sacrifice for all mankind. He willingly gave up his life to atone for our sins. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). We can’t follow him by doing the same, since what Jesus did on the cross was one sacrifice for all. But we can show our love for him by the little acts of love and obedience that he calls us to do, day by day. In the end, this shows true greatness in his kingdom, but that’s not why we do it. We love (John says, 1 John 4:19) because he first loved us.
Pastor Timothy Smith