Mark 10:35-45 Greatness is serving free written sermon

Jesus predicts his death and resurrection a third time-
If you have ever wished in reading the Bible that it would be clearer and easier to understand, this is the Scripture for you… If you have ever wished Jesus would explain things better, be more clear… Here’s your sign… 
This time – no talking in abstract terms or parables – Here it is in plain terms: listen you knuckleheads – We’re going to Jerusalem – I am going to be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes, they will condemn me to die, (and since they do not have the authority to kill me) they will turn me over to the gentiles (the Romans) and they will mock me, scourge me, spit on me, and kill me, and then I will rise from the dead.”

This is so clear and so precise, that many Bible skeptics and critics claim this had to have been made up and written much later, that Jesus never said it. Jesus can’t win with these people. When Jesus is more vague, they give him credit for saying it, but claim it doesn’t mean what we know it now means later… and when he is this precise, they claim he never said it.

Here’s the thing about Jesus specificness in this Scripture: Jesus knew why He came to earth… the Scripture we are studying today ends with “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”. This is why He came and He knew it!

He knew that the passages about the suffering servant from Isaiah were about Him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,   a man of sorrows, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, 
and we held him in low esteem.

 Surely he took up our pain     and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him    the iniquity of us all.

 He was oppressed and afflicted,    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.  Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;    for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
After he has suffered,    he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,

    and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,    and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,    and made intercession for the transgressors.

“He came to give up His life as a ransom for many” Jesus said about Himself. He knew why He came and He knew how it would go down.

Jesus pours out his heart about his impending death and the disciples, and He had to have felt like they were not listening.

James and John (sons of thunder) came to him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask.” (well while we have your ear…)

There is probably not a line in the Bible that represents humanity any more than this, and I am including believers in this – “Jesus, we want you to do whatever we ask.” Who among us is not guilty of thinking this same thing… That’s the majority of our prayers – we are asking this Lord, because this is what we want you to do. Not bad prayers… heal, save, restore, protect…

So Jesus plays along – What do you want me to do for you?

What would have been a good request here?

Give us the courage to be bold and faithful after they kill you.

Help us stand our ground and not give in to the lost world around us.

No, they say, Let one of us sit on your right and one on your left in your glory.

Jesus says, boys, you do not even know what you are asking for. There is no glory without the cross. Are you able to bear the burden I carry?  Can you drink from the cup from which I drink? Can you undergo the baptism that I have received?  Disciples: Uh huh….. yes we are able

Jesus says, Oh you will sure enough… but the honor of sitting next to me is not mine to give (RC Sproul says not Jesus’ to give at this point) They were too late in asking… this was already decided when God said, “Let there be light”.

Then the others got upset when they heard James and John were trying to worm their way into the leadership in glory. The fact that the 10 others got mad were just as problematic as the fact that the sons of thunder were jockeying for position of glory. There is no glory without the cross.

Found this on an old flashdrive from 2002 – I have no idea where this came from but I was saved in 2000 and was devouring the Bible.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all.” (Mark 10:42-44


James and John wanted the highest positions in Jesus’ kingdom. But Jesus told them that true greatness comes in serving others. Peter, one of the disciples who had heard this message, expands the thought in 1 Peter 5:1-4 –  Paraphrased: To the elders: Be a willing servant. And when Jesus appears, you will receive your crown of glory.

“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

Most businesses, organizations, and institutions measure greatness by high personal achievement. In Christ’s kingdom, however, service is the way to get ahead. The desire to be on top will hinder, not help. Rather than seeking to have your needs met, look for ways that you can minister to the needs of others.

BIBLE READING: Matthew 23:1-12- The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12) >TRUE GREATNESS IS MEASURED BY SERVICE

Jesus challenged society’s norms. To him, greatness comes from serving-giving of yourself to help God and others. Service keeps us aware of others’ needs, and it stops us from focusing only on ourself. Jesus came as a servant. What kind of greatness do you seek?

BIBLE READING: John 1:19-34

KEY BIBLE VERSE: John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not know, who will soon begin his ministry. I am not even worthy to be his slave.” (John 1:26-27)


John the Baptist said he was not even worthy to be Christ’s slave, to perform the humble task of unfastening his shoes. But according to Luke 7:28, Jesus said that John was the greatest of all prophets. If such a great person felt inadequate even to be Christ’s slave, how much more should we lay aside our pride to serve Christ! When we truly understand who Christ is, our pride and self-importance melt away.


Although John was a well-known preacher who attracted large crowds, he was content for Jesus to take the higher place. This is true humility, the basis for greatness in preaching, teaching, or any other work we do for Christ. When you are content to do what God wants you to do and let Jesus Christ be honored for it, God will do great things through you.

Give His life as a ransom for many…

Some say Jesus paid a ransom to the devil for you. Not true.

It was a ransom to God the father to crush the devil – Jesus purchased His bride.

A ransom provided by God and paid to God so that God could remain true and just. The Scripture says there is a penalty for your sin – it costs you your life. But Jesus stood in your place and gave His life for yours.

Greater love hath no man than this – that He would lay down His life for a friend.

The penalty is paid, justice is served, and those who will receive it are spared.

Jesus could not save his own life on the cross and yours too. He settled on sacrificing his to save yours. That is why he came to earth.

He gave His life as a ransom for many. He gave His life as a ransom for all of humanity, but not all will receive it. Not all will humble themselves and receive it.

Do you see how we have come full circle in the humbly serving part – one must humble him or her self to receive salvation.