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The Gospel of Mark #23 - 2 Key Attitudes for Christian Ministry

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The Gospel of Mark #23:

Two Key Attitudes for Christian Ministry

Text: Mark 9:30-41

Thesis: To note the importance of a servant and tolerant attitude to effective ministry.


(1)   After casting out the demon from the boy and explaining to the disciples why they had failed, Jesus then proceeds to discuss His coming death, burial, and resurrection.

(2)   However, His disciples still failed to understand what He meant.

(3)   Because of their lack of understanding, the disciples, on the road to Capernaum, begin to argue about who the greatest will be.

(4)   Jesus then proceeds to teach His disciples about 2 attitudes that they need.


I.                   First, Jesus teaches that one must have a servant’s attitude (vv. 35-37).

A.    Jesus sits down and says that those who will be great are those who will be a servant.

1.      The word ‘servant’ (Gr. diakonos) is “the ordinary Greek word for waiting tables (Luke 17:8; John 12:2; Acts 6:2).  It refers to personal devotion in service as opposed to service as a slave for hire or as a priest, for example” (Edwards 287).

2.      Consider the example of Jesus:

a.       On another occasion, He washed the disciples’ feet (John 13:1ff).

b.      Paul stated that Jesus took on the nature of a servant, which ultimately led to His death upon the cross (Phil. 2:5-8).

B.     Jesus then uses a child as an illustration of the need to help others without any expectations of getting something back in return.

1.      “This little child symbolized all the little people of life who need us and from whom we can expect absolutely nothing in return except the assurance that whatever we do for them, we have done for Christ” (Schubert 167).

2.      “To ‘welcome’ or ‘receive’ means to be concerned about, to care for, to show kindness to” (Brooks 150).

3.      “True spiritual greatness is found in paying attention to and caring for those whom others overlook, ignore, and shut out” (Shelly 95).

4.      “When we welcome other children of God in Christ’s name, there is a sense in which we receive and open ourselves further to Christ, because he indwells them and is identified with them” (Hughes 2:32).

II.                Second, Jesus teaches that one must have a tolerant attitude (vv. 38-41).

A.    John then speaks up and asks about a man who could cast out demons.

1.      The disciples had told the man to stop because he was not one of them.

2.      “They want to preserve their position in a select circle and do not want to share their power because it might undermine their status.  They want exclusive rights to Jesus’ name, as if they owned a special copyright to it” (Garland 371).

B.     Jesus responds by telling the disciples that they should not have stopped him because he was doing a good work; therefore, they should have received him and should have been tolerant of his differences.

1.      “The fact that Jesus’ power was active in the man, bringing release to men who had been enslaved to demonic possession, marks him as a believer” (Lane 343).

2.      Jesus also points out that whatever is done in His name is not overlooked and will be rewarded.


-          In order to be great in the eyes of God and to experience great success for God, one must have these two key attitudes.

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