“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45
My two youngest children really love Netflix. Maybe you do too. And when they are watching their favorite show, I can walk into the room and ask them a question and they will not break contact with the screen. I can get about 3 inches from their face and they will not even acknowledge that I’m there. Now, I know my children love me, but when they are listening to the TV they are not really hearing what I’m saying. They are distracted.
We all get distracted, don’t we? So did Jesus’ disciples.
One day as they were walking toward Jerusalem, Jesus told his disciples that when they get there that he will be seized, and spit upon and killed, but he would rise again on the third day. Now, the disciples obviously didn’t really hear Jesus because two of them ran up to Jesus and said, “Hey, when we get to Jerusalem can we sit on your right and left? Like, can we be the second and third most important people in your kingdom?”
They didn’t get it. They weren’t listening. They thought that the goal of life was to be more and more important in the eyes of the world, but the goal of Jesus’ kingdom was to give your life away.
And so, Jesus responds by saying, “You haven’t been listening to me! You don’t realize what you are even asking…You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.”
What Jesus is telling all of us is that following him means that we all become servants. We look at the world and say, not “How can the world give ME what I need,” but “How can I, like Jesus, lay down my life for the world?”
Many can live their whole life saying, “Oh yeah, I believe in Jesus and he died for my sin and all that.” But their lives are not about him and his kingdom, but about their own little kingdoms they are busy building. Jesus would say, “You’re not listening…you didn’t hear what I was saying…following me is not about making your life super easy and comfortable so that you won’t ever have to worry about anything. It’s about being so secure in my love for you that you are free to give your life away!”
You see, Jesus was absolutely certain of his Father’s love for him. He knew that the Father loved him and was always looking out for his best interest (even when it was hard). And you know what? That security allowed Jesus to freely lay down his life for you and me.
Today if might be good to ask yourself if you’ve really been listening to Jesus. Or is it possible that the voices of this world have been drowning him out? Is it possible that what you’ve heard says, “Hey, you’ve got to look out for yourself! Do what’s best for you! Don’t think about other people or how they are hurting, that’ll only drag you down! Just hang out with people that are just like you!”
If Jesus had only hung out with people that we just like him then we wouldn’t have stood a chance.