Mark 10:43-44, “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.”
Every Christian begins their spiritual walk in “spiritual kindergarten.” We take the most precarious steps in hopes of not falling, and when we do fall, we get back up and give it another try. While this cycle should lessen over time, Christians of all ages can fall and have to get back up – even the most mature among us. We have to learn our limits, as well as, proper skills to live the Christian life.
At times, if we are not careful, we can find ourselves outmatched by our own self-interest. Two of the statements of James and John, reveal much about their minds and spiritual direction. (Mark 10:35, 37) There seems to be a growing relaxation as to their understanding of and respect for Jesus. Suddenly, the servants expect to be served.
As it is with immature individuals in any endeavor, they seemed keen to dig themselves in even deeper. If Jesus had consented to their request to place them on each side of Him, how long would it have taken for them to argue over who would sit where? Who was the most important? Who was the favorite? Who was the greater servant, the better brother, or even most likely to be second in command?
Their last statement in this whole process was the most telling. When asked by Jesus, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” (Mark 10:38) They responded, “We are able.” (vs. 39) They had no idea about the truthfulness of their own answer, because they had no idea of what Jesus was talking about. They would eventually drink from the cup of sacrifice, but for now they could barely stand the thought of knowing what that might mean.
Often, we are very much the same. We can sometimes forget that the human “Christ,” was no less than God on earth. (John 14:7) While we wrestle with figuring out how to be equal in height with Jesus, we tend to forget that we need to be on our knees in His presence. While we figure out where to stand at His right or left, we ought to be bowing at His feet. While we are called through the Gospel of Christ, we should never forget the people we are called to be. The name Christian applied to us indicates sacrifice, service, and humility. To forget this is to attempt to displace Jesus Himself. It is a great thing to be close to Jesus, but we can never forget our own place in that relationship. When we do, we injure more than our own pride, we can actually lose our very salvation. I am so glad we serve a loving, patient, and forgiving master!