April 15, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I have stated in the last two blogs that Jesus Christ has several mission statements. A mission statement is a “…one-sentence statement describing the reason an organization, program or ministry exists. It is used to help guide decisions about priorities, actions, and responsibilities.” (From the website, 50 Example Mission Statements). Here is a very succinct mission statement from Mark 10:45: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The context from which this statement comes starts back in verse 35, when “…James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him saying…‘Grant us the we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.’ ” It was a selfish request, based on James’ and John’s perception of the kingdom they expected Jesus to initiate. There were several popular ideas concerning the Messiah and His kingdom. Here are a few of them:
• The Messianic kingdom would be glorious, powerful, and with great wealth available, just like under the rule of King Solomon a thousand years before (see Isaiah 2:2; 60:1-22; Jeremiah 31:11-14; Zechariah 14:14).
• Israel would be the dominant nation in the earth, with their Messiah King holding benevolent rule over all other nations (see Psalm 2:6-12; Jeremiah 30:7-11; Hoseah 3:5; Zechariah 9:8-10; ).
• There would be peace upon the earth, with the Messiah King ensuring that way of life (see Isaiah 2:4; 9:6, 7; Micah 4:3).
• There would be no more war, once the Messiah and Israel was victorious (see Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3).
Also, Jesus had recently told His disciples in Matthew 19:28:
Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits
on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
So the disciples were avidly anticipating the reestablishment of the kingdom in which Israel would be the dominant nation, and in which they themselves would help rule! Of course, their ideas of the coming kingdom, and God’s plan were two different concepts!
But with such thinking, James and John approached Jesus directly (according to Matthew 20:20 and 21, it was their mother who asked Jesus): “Grant us the we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” (Mark 10:37). The resultant dialogue with the Lord in Mark 10:38 through 40 went thus:
But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Can you drink of
the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized
with?” And they said to Him, “We can.” But Jesus said to them, “You
will indeed drink of the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am bap-
tized with you will be baptized; 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.”
When the ten other disciples heard what was going on, it says in Mark 10:41, “…they began to be greatly displeased…” with such a brash request. So Jesus put the matter to rest with the illustration of Himself as applied to them in Mark 10:42 through 45:
You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it
over them….Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to be
great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to
be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be
served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
The followers of Jesus had to learn humility and service in place of pride and worldly ambition! And to what extent were they to serve? I John 3:16 has the answer: “By this we know love, because He [Jesus Christ] laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” If we are willing to lay down our lives for fellow Christians, then anything else we are called to do for them is a lesser sacrifice!
Jesus set the example! His stated purpose in Mark 10:45 is, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” No, we do not have to ransom anyone’s life. That has already been done on Calvary’s cross! But are we willing to serve one another – even unto death?