The events of Mark chapter 10 are probably very close to the time Jesus would be arrested, tried, convicted, and crucified. One would think the disciples would grow more introspective, but that was not the case.
James and John came to Jesus to ask him to seat them on his left and right hands, positions of honor, and authority. Jesus told them they misunderstood what they were asking.
Jesus told his disciples that if any of them desired to be “great,” they must first become servants just as he did not come, Son of God though he was, to be served but to serve and to give himself as a sacrifice for sins (Mark 10:45).
Even today that are people who do not understand what a disciple of Christ is. He is a servant, a slave. The apostle Paul identified himself as a slave in Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:10, and Titus 1:1. He used the term slave repeatedly, even identifying his fellow Christians as slaves of Christ.
“Paradise Lost,” an epic poem by John Milton, is written in four books and has more than a thousand lines. It is supposedly about the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. In the poem, Satan reportedly says, “It is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.” Many people on earth probably agree with Satan.
Jesus told his two ambitious disciples that in the kingdom of heaven, the one who wishes to become great must become a servant. First place belongs to the ones who will become the slave of all (Mark 10:43-44). Then the Master reminded them that not even he came so others might serve him, but he came to help others and die for them.
When I think of this incident, I think of the road to the cross Jesus was even then traveling. I think of how he was falsely charged, beaten, and crucified for everyone’s sins.
Had James and John learned the point? The Bible certainly shows they did. James died at the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2). John served Jesus through old age. I think they learned how blessed it had been to serve the Master as faithful slaves.
Will you give your life as a servant of Jesus?