John Mark’s portrait of Jesus shows him girded, not in the regal
robes of a King as in the gospel of Matthew, but in the plain tunic
and apron of a servant. The key verse of his whole gospel is this
text: “Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the
Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his
life as a ransom for many” (vss 44-45 NIV).
There is one application of this text very familiar to us all and
another you may never have considered. It seems to escape our
attention. The more obvious and familiar application is this:
I. If Jesus came from Heaven to earth to take the role of a servant,
then how much more should we who claim to follow Him, serve one
The context supports this use of the text. James and John were
displaying extremely self-seeking behavior. When the other ten
disciples heard it, they were indignant that these two were getting
in line ahead of them. All of them needed to understand that
following Christ was a life of lowly service.
Robert Searle told a parable about a man who died and was given the
unique privilege of seeing what hell was like before being ushered
into heaven. In the place of torment he saw a long banquet table
spread with all manner of luscious fruit, delicate meats and breads.
But seated at the tables were emaciated skeletal guests staring at
each other from sunken eye sockets. They could reach the table but
their arms were all in splints. No one could bend an elbow to bring
food to his mouth.
“I’ve seen enough!” he said. “Take me to heaven.” There he was
surprised to find a similar banquet scene. Here also the guests wore
splints so that no one could bend an arm. These guests, however were
sleek and happy souls. The difference? They had learned to feed one
another. That may not describe heaven literally, but that is what it
means to be a citizen of the kingdom. Kingdom citizens learn to live
for others. But there is another way to apply this text.
II. If Jesus came to earth to be a servant, and to give his life as a ransom, why not let him do for you what he came to do?
Do you need his forgiving grace? That’s why He came. Let him be your
savior. Do you need a friend who never fails? Let Jesus meet that
need. He came to be the ultimate servant; shouldn’t we allow Him to
do for us what He came to do?
Bruce Wilkinson wrote an immensely popular little book on The Prayer
of Jabez. Some of us are uncomfortable with this materialistic and
selfish petition. Is this a model for Christian prayer? “Jabez called
on the God of Israel, saying, ‘Oh that Thou would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that
Thou would keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!’ And God
granted him that which he requested.” (1 Chron 4:10 AV). Me my, me,
The remarkable thing about Jabez and his prayer is that God answered
at all. If Jabez has a message on prayer, let him teach us that God
is a most gracious Sovereign. God is not the Celestial Santa Claus,
but he does love for us his children to seek his favor. In the Sermon
on the Mount, Jesus taught: “How much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask him” (Mt. 7:11 NIV). Do you aspire
to be a fellow servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? Great! But don’t
fail to see the other side of the text. Whatever your truest and
deepest need, God in Christ is able and eager to provide that for
you. The Son of Man came to serve.
Sermon brief provided by: Austin B. Tucker, a teacher and
writer living in Shreveport, LA.