Life Group Discussion Guide
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 10:45
Read Mark 10:32-45
In Mark 10 we see a discussion on Jesus’ purpose for serving at a moment when the disciples are disputing with each other. James and John’s mother has asked Jesus to give her sons a special place of honor when he takes his throne as king. At this point, of course, the disciples still had in mind that Jesus’ path to the throne would not involve a cross and that his throne would be earthly before it was heavenly.
The request for James and John to receive special honor rubbed the other disciples the wrong way. And why not? Had not all of them left everything to follow Jesus? Did they not all have equal allegiance? I suspect that if the mother knew what she was asking, she would not have asked.
Jesus essentially told her that to follow him and be placed in highest honor would require that a person sacrifice in the same manner that Jesus would be sacrificing himself. That’s not the type of honor that most people would sign up for.
The culture of Jesus’ day was overly obsessed with status and honor. At one point, Jesus had to tell people that it is better to sit in the place of least honor and then to be recognized rather than to recognize yourself as the guest of honor, only to be demoted by someone more important. These people obviously had issues with self-aggrandizement!
Jesus had to teach that being his disciple is a path of sacrifice and suffering, which produce humility rather than arrogance.
One theme that has continually reared its head in our discussions on serving has been our culture’s propensity to embrace entitlement. We teach people to focus on receiving instead of giving, on being served instead of serving, and on self-preservation instead of sacrifice.
On the other extreme we find people who struggle with co-dependency. These people serve not out of pure motives to please God, but because they have identities that are tied up in the need to be needed. How can we sacrifice ourselves, but do so with right motives and be effective in accomplishing things for God’s kingdom?
The first step is to remember the Gospel. We must always remember that we will never give more of ourselves than Jesus gave of himself.
We don’t earn salvation, Jesus already won it for us.