121028 Mark 10:35 - 45

Last Updated on Sunday, 28 October 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Mark 10:35 – 45

Sermon Theme: "Do You Want to Be Great?"

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." 36 "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 37 They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." 38 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" 39 "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." 41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials 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 slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

In the Gospel Lesson for this week, two of Jesus' closest Disciples, James and John, come to him with a request. Matthew reports that they actually made their request through their Mom. Did James and John think it would sound better coming from their Mother rather than coming from them directly? Did they think the other Disciples wouldn't be as mad if they thought James and John's mother was asking on her own? Whatever their reason for having their Mom ask on their behalf, Mark tells us that the request did come from James and John. Perhaps these two followers of Jesus were still thinking that he was going to set up an earthly kingdom. So, they were looking for places of honor for themselves in this new order of government that Jesus would establish. The Savior, however, uses their request to teach them (and all of us here today) a lesson about greatness.

But before we go any farther, instead of shaking our heads in disappointment at James and John, before we go and point our fingers at them yelling out "Shame! Shame!! Shame!!!", each one of us here this morning will have to confess that, at times, we have been just like James and John. Our sinful pride gets in the way, and we look only for the positions of honor or for the words of praise from others. This sinful pride, along with all the other sins that we commit and the natural sinful condition that we are born in, make you and me only deserving of being knocked down a few pegs; of being knocked down all the way to hell.

As together we confess our sin of pride (along with all our other sins) before our Lord, we hear our Savior say to us, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." What a beautiful summary of the Gospel! In his great love for you and me, Jesus, true God and True Man, willingly came as your perfect Substitute and mine. Jesus gave up his body and shed his blood, paying "in full" the price for your sins and mine. Because of Jesus, you and I are free: free from the guilt of our sins, free from suffering eternal death in hell; free to live with our loving Savior forever in the perfect joys of heaven.
Now in thankfulness for all that Jesus has done for us, you and I desire to live for him. How do we do that? Jesus himself gives us this answer: "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." Jesus says that you and I are to serve others. What does it mean to serve others? One way to think about it is:

Share Every Resource, Value Everyone.

In other words, I will use the blessings of my time, my talents and my treasures that the Lord has graciously given to me to help and benefit others. I will look for opportunities to use my time and my talents to help in the ministry of our congregation. I will give back to my Lord a thank-offering of my treasures that gives him all praise and glory for the many blessings he has showered upon me. If I see a family member or neighbor that is need of help with a particular task, I will offer to help in any way I am able to. If I see someone in physical need, I will share with them some of the blessings that I have been given. Why? 1 John chapter 4 answers that question in this way, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."

During the American Revolutionary War, a stranger in civilian clothes rode up to a group of soldiers who were making repairs on a small wall. Their leader was shouting out instructions, but making no attempt to help them. When the stranger stopped and asked why the leader wasn't helping, he answered with great pride, "Well you see sir, I am a Corporal!" The stranger then got off the horse he was riding, and helped the exhausted soldiers finish the repairs. When the job was finished, the stranger turned to the Corporal and said, "Mr. Corporal, the next time you have a job like this and not enough men to do it, contact your commander-in-chief, and I will come and help you again." The stranger that stopped to help was none other than General George Washington. My dear Christian Friends: DO YOU WANT TO BE GREAT? Contact your "commander-in-chief", your one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. Go to him in prayer. Pray that through the power of his holy Word, he fills you with a willingness to serve others as he has served you: "For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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