This study was taught by Pastor Barry Forder at our family service on 26th August 2018.
In our study of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is now on His way down to Jerusalem, but stops off at Simon Peter’s house to give the disciples their first object lesson about ‘greatness’ in His coming kingdom. The disciples were expecting Jesus to overthrow the yoke and tyranny of Rome, and so the conversation had arisen about who was going to be most important in Jesus new kingdom – when finally the Throne of David would be reestablished in Jerusalem. Possibly this had been triggered by Jesus taking just Peter, James and John up to the top of Mt. Hermon where He was transfigured only a few days before this. Why did not Matthew or Andrew get to go? Exactly how do you get into Jesus’ good books?
Well, the disciples were wrong on every level. Although they didn’t understand at that time, the Throne of David will be revived (Luke 1:32), Jesus will sit on it and reign over the whole earth from Jerusalem (Daniel 7:14 / Micah 4:1-3), and the 12 Disciples (excluding Judas!) will each be given thrones and authority over the 12 Tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28) – but not yet! First must come the cross.
…and to be the greatest in His kingdom means becoming a servant to all!
[And, by the way, you can’t do anything to get into His good books! If you accept Him as Lord and Saviour your name is already written in His Good Book, because of what He’s done! (Rev 3:5)].
Regarding God view of greatness, Oswald Chambers comments: “It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket— to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted— not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister?”
Jesus gently told the Disciples that His kingdom is founded on serving each other. In the church this is the framework on which everything hangs “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2)
The next lesson was a simple one, yet 2000 years later one the many in the church have failed to learn! Because other Christians don’t do things the way we do them, because they have a different style of worship, or because they dress differently; maybe their teaching is not as in-depth as we would like it to be, or maybe there are some non-essential doctrinal differences, none of those things give us grounds to critisize or condenm. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand”. (Rom 14:4).
The very next few verses our the safeguard against error. God is judge and He will reward those who are faithful, but He will also severely judge those who are in error – and especially if they lead others astray!
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.
The Powerpoint slides used in these study are available for free download