The Key to Greatness: Mark 10:35-45

Focus Passage: Mark 10:35-45 (GW)

 35 James and John, sons of Zebedee, went to Jesus. They said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do us a favor.”

 36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.

 37 They said to him, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

 38 Jesus said, “You don’t realize what you’re asking. Can you drink the cup that I’m going to drink? Can you be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive?”

 39 “We can,” they told him.

   Jesus told them, “You will drink the cup that I’m going to drink. You will be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive. 40 But I don’t have the authority to grant you a seat at my right or left. Those positions have already been prepared for certain people.”

 41 When the other ten apostles heard about it, they were irritated with James and John. 42 Jesus called the apostles and said, “You know that the acknowledged rulers of nations have absolute power over people and their officials have absolute authority over people. 43 But that’s not the way it’s going to be among you. Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. 44 Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone. 45 It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”

Read Mark 10:35-45 in context and/or in other translations on!

In our passage for this journal entry, we read about two of Jesus’ disciples requesting places of honor in Jesus’ upcoming kingdom. After James and John make their request to be seated in the places of honor, and after the rest of the disciples find out and are upset at them, Jesus calls them all together and shares the secret to greatness.

In society, in business, in government, and most other areas, it is easy to fall into the belief that “status” matters, and those higher up are more important. In places like this, those at the top are able to belittle those under them. However, this mindset doesn’t result in any lasting positive results.

Instead, Jesus shares an insight with the disciples that shook their world. It is the servants in the world who will be remembered as those who are great. It is those people who are touching individual lives and uplifting them that will be remembered long after they are gone.

The key to greatness is found in how deeply you are serving someone – a single individual. Society and culture might make us believe that we can only help others if we are helping the masses at large, but this is false help. It is only through touching many individual lives that culture can change – and by definition, it starts with an individual.

Jesus was our example. He individually healed people, taught them with stories that connected with them personally, and He devoted the bulk of His time to a small group of individuals who only really became a team after Jesus had returned to heaven.

Service is the key to greatness.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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