I lead a bible study at my church for first year students. It is boisterous and fun and I am enjoying getting to know them all as friends! 🙂 Today’s passage was from Mark chapter 9. I didn’t lead this time which meant I got more think time to observe and chew during the study since I didn’t have to direct questions to get the group thinking.
That is the word that sticks in my head in regard to what we looked at about Jesus today.
The way of Jesus is completely upside down to the way that we are all wired to think in this world. Greatness in God’s Kingdom is not the greatness that we long for or imagine or what the definition of great is on earth. It is completely backwards and upside down.
If you read the passages I have copied down here.. you will get what I mean.. greatness that Jesus talks about is completely the opposite to what we imagine. You also probably get a feel for the numpty’s his disciples were and are amazed at the cheek of their requests and conversations.
But then again maybe we would be doing the same thing… and not getting what Jesus is after.. in his upside down idea of greatness.. by suffering.. by serving.. by being last..
“And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
(Mark 9:33-35 ESV)
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 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 10:35-45 ESV)
“And what of the idea of a God who comes down and loves the unlovely and the unrighteous before the objects of his love have any inclination to love him or do good? Such is incomprehensible to the theologians of glory, who assume that God is like them, like other human beings, and thus only responds to those who are intrinsically attractive or good, or who first earn his favor in some way. But the cross shows that God is not like that: against every assumption that human beings might make about who God is and how he acts, he requires no prior loveliness in the objects of his love; rather, his prior love creates that loveliness without laying down preconditions. Such a God is revealed with amazing and unexpected tenderness and beauty in the ugly and violent drama of the cross.”