A Servant who Ransomed the Many

Encouragement for Your Heart and Mind from Pastor David Staff

You and I know something.  Jesus knew that we know it.  We see it all the time, and sadly, it doesn’t surprise us.

Those in places of power use their place and power to “lord it” over others.  It’s what Russia is attempting to do with Ukraine.  It’s what your boss may be doing in the place that you work.

Meaning?  The word Jesus used meant “to impose powerful authority upon others.”  Katakurieou. Luke uses this verb in Acts 19:16 to describe what a demonic spirit did “leaping upon a [group of 7 men], overpowering them, prevailing against them…so that they ran out of the house naked and wounded.”  Yikes!

“You know this happens,” said Jesus.  “You’ve seen it a lot.  People in power act like tyrants” (cf. Mark 10:42-43, CSB.)

Jesus continued. “It is not so among you” (i.e., among his disciples, who would become key leaders in Jesus’ church).

I’m certain Jesus’ wondered about this.  Clearly, from their in-group arguments recorded in Mark 8, 9, and 10, some in the group were looking forward to the day when they could “lord it over” their religious opponents.  The Pharisees, the scribes…perhaps even the Roman soldiers.  They anticipated Jesus finally taking over and they being awarded with the spots of honor, control, and privilege.

Not so, Jesus said.  Not in my group.  Not with my leaders.

“On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant.  Whoever wants to be first among you will be slave to all” (Mark 10:43b-44).

“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” (Mark 10:45).

Let’s face it.  It’s not easy for us to give up our expectations about what greatness really is.  We have long nurtured ideas that greatness is great Bible knowledge.  Greatness is speaking powerfully, persuasively.  Greatness is beating your opponent.  Greatness is having your will and objectives accomplished, even if at the expense of those who object or oppose.  Greatness is financial wealth and resources.  Greatness is being served hand-and-foot.

Greatness as serving?  Greatness as giving up your own life for another?  Greatness is freely paying an expensive ransom so that someone “less than you” can be rescued.

This is how Jesus called his followers to measure greatness.  And this is what Jesus lived that they might see it.  The greatest Person who ever walked the planet, serving while not being served.  Dying so that others might live.

You are invited to join us again this Sunday morning as we finish our look at the Father’s Great Servant, his Son the Lord Jesus Christ.   And, you are invited to join the entire Free Church family in choosing greatness the way He indeed did.
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