Mark Part XXXVII - The Greatest in the Kingdom (9:33-50)
Last week we heard Jesus’ second description of His calling as the Christ. We know He is the Messiah; now we are learning what that means. “The Son of Man is being delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, he will rise the third day.”
After this declaration of His mission, Jesus once again discusses with the disciples the nature of discipleship. What does it mean to be a disciple? He does this in a series of four dialogues, the first of which we shall discuss today: what is the measure of greatness in the Kingdom?
The disciples have been jostling for position, arguing who is going to be who in the coming Kingdom. Jesus knows & asks what they’ve been discussing. The disciples refuse to answer; their consciences are troubling them; clearly they know that what they’ve been debating wouldn’t be pleasing to the Lord – and yet they continue to convince themselves that this type of kingdom is what Jesus is establishing. When they refuse to answer, Jesus takes up the issue Himself. He rebukes their entire process of reasoning. In the Kingdom that I am introducing, greatness comes not from getting ahead but getting behind. Greatness is serving, sacrificing, giving yourself for the benefit of others.
The conversation that ensues after Jesus makes this declaration reveals where the real threat to greatness does and does not lie.
Stuart Bryan is the pastor of Trinity Church. He and his wife, Paige, have seven children, four homegrown, two adopted from the lovely land of Guatemala, and one adopted from Ukraine. Stuart earned his B.A. in Religion from Whitworth College and his M.A. in Theological and Historical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida.