The Bible says in Mark 10:32-34, “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.” It is truly wonderful how the teachings of the Bible prepare us for life. There is so much to learn from Jesus, the things that He taught, the things that He did, and the things that happened to Him.
Life can be dangerous, because life ends with death. Either through accident or violence or disease or old age, life ends with death. One of the greatest things about the teachings of Jesus is the promise of life after death, which He gave again in this passage. Concerning the life of Jesus, He was not going to die from accident or disease or old age. He was going to die a violent and an early death. He made this clear to His disciples, and He wanted them to be prepared. Terrible things can happen in life because life is dangerous and uncertain and ends in death. The best way to be prepared for the terrible things that may come your way is to put yourself in the same place that the disciples were in. Make sure that you go to Jesus, listen to what He says, and receive His teachings. The teachings of Jesus will prepare you for life, even the disasters of life.
Jesus listed in pretty good detail exactly what was going to happen to Him once He went to Jerusalem. How could Jerusalem have come to such a condition? The great city, the city of David, had become a den of evil spirits, because the true way of living by faith had been lost. They had a religious organization, but the leaders of the religion had stopped following God. If you do not follow God, you can even be working in a religious organization and fall into terrible sins and crimes. These religious leaders in Jerusalem opposed the truth and became murderers of the Christ.
Jesus listed the things that would happen to Him when He went to Jerusalem. Jesus would be delivered to the chief priests and to the scribes. Humanly speaking that was the worst thing that could have happened to Him, because by this time through jealousy, the chief priests and the scribes wanted to see Jesus put to death. If you desire to serve God, the same thing may happen to you. The very people that you would expect would support you, the religious leaders, may become your worst enemies. It happened to Jesus.
Jesus said that they would condemn Him to death. Of all the crimes and sins that they world has committed, the most cowardly act, the most compromising, and the most unjust of all was the unjust condemnation to death of Jesus Christ the righteous One. To think that evil men could lay their hands on the Holy One of Israel, and strike Him down with their own hands and kill Him! If human beings were capable of this, they will be capable of any horror beyond the imagination of man.
Jesus said that they would deliver Him to the Gentiles. The religious leaders of Jerusalem sent the Innocent One to His death, but they made sure that their own hands did not commit the act. They pressured the Roman government in the person of Pontius Pilate to put Jesus to death. Be careful what pressure you give in to. By giving in to the religious leaders, Pontius Pilate is forever an example of how bad a politician can be when he does things for political expediency instead of for moral principle.
Jesus said that before He was killed, He would be mocked, scourged, and spit upon. Jesus mentioned that He would be mocked before the scourging and the spitting. Perhaps the emotional suffering of being mocked can be even a greater suffering than physical torture. But the physical torture given to the Christ by the hands of men was not minor. To be scourged in the days of the Roman Empire meant to be whipped on the bare back with a cat-of-nine-tails. The flesh would have been ripped from His back and the pain would have been excruciating. Jesus told the disciples that He would be spit upon. One of the greatest signs of disrespect has always been for one human to spit upon another. Of course, it is a despicable act, done only by humans at the lowest level of human behavior. These are the kinds of humans into whose hands Jesus would be delivered, and He submitted to it for your sins and for mine.
About thirty-three years old He was, and He willingly and knowingly submitted Himself to this torture and death. Oh how much He loved us, and Oh how much we should love Him. Never forget that after Jesus mentioned all the things that He would suffer at the end of His life, He did not stop with His death and the grave. After the death of Jesus, there is more. Jesus said that on the third day He would rise again. That’s one of the wonderful things about what the Lord did for us. Because of Jesus, for those who follow Him, every tragedy now has a good ending when all is said and done. After the death on the cross would be the resurrection.
Somehow the disciples just could not grasp the magnitude of what was going to happen to Jesus. That was partly due to the fact that they were filled sometimes with themselves and with thoughts of themselves. If you think too much about yourself, you cannot think of others. James and John were thinking of themselves. They did not ask what was going to happen to Jesus even after He described His horrible sufferings. They could only think about themselves. The Bible says in Mark 10:35, “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that you should do for us whatsoever we shall desire.”
We could say that this was a prayer that James and John made to Jesus. They made a request to Jesus. Was there anything wrong with this request? The first evidence that there was something wrong is the fact that in just one short sentence they mentioned themselves three times. They said, “We would that you should do for us whatsoever we shall desire.” They left off one very important part. They left off the phrase, “Nevertheless not our will, but thine be done.” Whenever you pray, always qualify everything that you ask for by making sure that you ask for God’s will. In the Lord’s prayer Jesus told us always to pray, “Thy will be done.”
In spite of the selfishness of the request, Jesus still made an answer to it. He used the occasion to make a couple of important points about rewards that will be given to those who follow Him. The Bible says in Mark 10:36-40, “And he said unto them, What would you that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, You know not what you ask. Can you drink of the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, You shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized shall you be baptized. But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”
James and John asked if they could sit on the right hand and on the left hand of Jesus in His glory. Jesus did not deny that such an honor would be given to certain ones, and Jesus said that the Father would hand out such rewards. Just exactly what is the significance of sitting at the right hand and the left hand of Jesus in His glory? The throne of Christ represents His power and authority. Whoever sits on His right hand and left hand will also have power. Several places in the New Testament we are told about “crowns” that believers may win or lose. A crown is a symbol of power and authority. If you are a believer, it matters very much if you will gain your crowns or not. The responsibilities and opportunities that you will be given in eternity will be decided by it.
Jesus said, “To sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” God has prepared certain rewards for each believer. There is a relationship between those rewards and the calling that you have. If you fulfill your calling, you will gain the rewards and the opportunities and the responsibilities that God has prepared for you. In order to have the kind of power and authority that would come from being on either side of the throne of Christ, one would expect that there would be a requirement. There is. Jesus said, “Can you drink of the cup that I drink of? And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” An exceptional reward in heaven will require an exceptional sacrifice on earth. Jesus drank of the cup of the crucifixion for you and me. Jesus was baptized with the baptism of suffering and death. Because of it, He will forever be known as the King of kings. Prophesying about the Messiah and the consequences of His self-sacrifice, Isaiah 53:12 says, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death.” To sit on the left hand and the right hand of Jesus in authority will not be given to just anyone. You must drink of the cup that Jesus drank of, and you must be baptized with the baptism with which Jesus was baptized.
The Bible says in Mark 10:41, “And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.” The other disciples knew what James and John were after: higher positions for themselves. What we see starting to happen between the disciples is human competition, perhaps jealousy, and anxious thoughts about who would have more power than the other. That’s how the world thinks, but that is not how the Lord wants His followers to think. The Bible says in Mark 10:42-45, “But Jesus called them to him, and said unto them, You know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: But whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister. And whosoever among you will be the chief, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” The world thinks that the greatest people are the ones with the most authority. But Jesus said very clearly that that is not how He wants it to be among His believers. He said, “So shall it not be among you.”
Jesus also said, “Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.” The word “minister” means servant. Jesus said that the greatest person in His eyes is someone who serves others. The word “minister” has come to have a different meaning in organized religion than Jesus meant for it to have. Now we give people the title of minister in order to elevate them in a religious hierarchy, and in order to make it clear that they have more power and authority than other people in the church. We have taken the word “minister” and given it the exact opposite meaning than Jesus wanted it to have. A hierarchy has been created in many modern churches, but Jesus wanted servants to exist among us. We call them the Senior Minister, the Minister of Music, and the Minister of Education. We elevate them and make them powerful.
These are the last days. One of the great evidences of that fact is the degeneration that has taken place in many of the church organizations. It has become infiltrated by power-hungry people. Such people are not close to Jesus. God wants His people to be servants of each other, not rulers of each other. God is our ruler and God alone. When power-hungry people come into the church to rule over the people of God, this teaching of Jesus is being cast aside. In the book of Revelation Jesus said to the church of Pergamus in Revelation 2:14, “But I have a few things against thee.” And he said in Revelation 2:15, “So you have also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.” The word “Nicolaitanes” in the Greek means “those that rule over the people;” and Jesus said that He hates it.
To be faithful to what Jesus taught in this passage in Mark chapter 10, do not call people in the church “Ministers” with a capital M if it gives them more power by doing so. They should simply be called servants. That’s what Jesus said. He said, “Whosoever among you will be the chief, shall be servant of all.” Jesus became a servant so that you could be saved from your sins. If you do not know Jesus, who was the greatest because He was the humblest, then you can come to know Him today. Pray to Jesus and come to know Him as your Savior.
Copyright; 2002 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved