Sunday, Sept 1st
Living Hope Fellowship Sent to Serve Mark 10:32-45 Pastor Shawn Yoder Mark 10:32-45 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” 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.” Servants? Let me start this morning with a question. If you were to be asked, describe a Christian in one word what one word would you use? Or maybe a better question, what one word would those who are not Christians describe a Christian? If they were to describe you in one word, what would that word be? How should we be described? As we plant ourselves in this community, on this street, in this surrounding area. What do we want people to think about us as Living Hope Fellowship. What do we want to be know by? Living Hope Fellowship? Oh those are people who _____________ fill in the blank. Pause A word we might choose would be the word “love”. • That’s probably one that came to your mind. Jesus said that everyone would know we are disciples how? By our love for one another. Love should be a description of a Christian. “Truth” is another word that comes to my mind. • Jesus also said that those who are disciples would know the truth, and the truth would set them free. Christianity is a religion about truth. It’s not just that it’s true – but it tells us the truth. It tells us about reality. The message of Creation – Fall – and Redemption help us make sense out of this messed up world that we are in. We are people of truth. “Joy” Seems like that should be a description of a Christian. Or steadfastness. Not easily shaken by the things that shake others because we have a firm foundation. There are lots of options that we might choose. And right options. Those are good words, and appropriate words. But how far down the list do we have to go until we get to the description that Jesus uses in our passage this morning. Servant. A Christian, somehow who follows Jesus, is to be a servant. • Is that a description that would be applied to us by the world? • Is that a description that we apply to ourselves? • Is that our desire, that we would be known as servants. ◦ As those who serve others? This morning we land on this passage in part, simply because it is the next passage in our study of Mark. But even though we did not pick this passage specifically for today – our first Sunday in our new building - this is the perfect passage for us to be at today. • As always, God knows what we need to hear more than we do. What better message for us to here today: • as we gather in this beautiful new building, • as we are filled with excitement at this new home that we have for us to gather in week in and week out. What better passage for us to land on, than to be reminded of what this is all about. • What this building, what this gathering is for. • It’s not to make a great name for Living Hope Fellowship. • It’s not to be a monument to us – look at us and all that we’ve accomplished… • But it is here to enable us to serve God and serve others better. We’re here in this neighborhood, on this street, in the Milford-Greenwood area…to serve. • And you are sent from this building each week to your streets and neighborhoods, to serve. We are sent to serve. That’s the title of this morning’s message. Sent to serve. We see Jesus telling his disciples and in that telling us, that as followers of him, we are being sent not to be served, but to serve. We are sent to serve. But before we look at the sending, we need to first look at a few other things. • We need to look at our hesitancy to serve. ◦ Why we need to be told this in the first place. • But we also need to look at the one who was sent to us as a Servant. ◦ We need to start by looking at Jesus. And what I want us to see in these opening verses is Jesus’ determination to serve. Jesus’ determination to serve. Jesus’ Determination to Serve At the end of our passage we hear Jesus saying that the reason that he has come is to serve. But before we hear it, I want us to see it. And we see it in the opening verses. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem. Jerusalem, where he says in verses 33-34 that he will be handed over, condemned to death, mocked, spit on, beaten and then killed. Then he will rise again. This is now the third time that Jesus has predicted his own death in as many chapters of Mark. And with each prediction, he adds more details. And one of the details that he adds with this prediction is that all of this will take place in Jerusalem. Which is where they are headed. But in verse 32 Mark says something interesting about the way in which they are headed there. He says first, that Jesus was walking ahead of them. But then he says that those who are walking behind him are amazed, and afraid. NLT – The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. The words there mean that they were startled by something, and whatever startled them was making them feel anxious. But this leads us to the question – of what? • What caused them to be filled with awe and afraid? ◦ We’ve seen people be amazed at Jesus’ miracles. That’s a common word in Mark. ◦ We’ve seen them be taken aback by his teaching. • But here it seems, all that Jesus is doing, is walking. What is going on here? We get a clue when we look at Luke’s account of this journey to Jerusalem, where he says that Luke 9:53 “his face was set toward Jerusalem.” It was normal for a Jewish Rabbi to walk ahead of his disciples, and for them to follow him. But what is happening here is not simply the normal traveling lineup. When Mark says that Jesus is walking ahead of them, what he’s saying is that Jesus’ is marching ahead of them. • Jesus is not meandering towards Jerusalem. • Jesus is not moseying towards Jerusalem, dragging his feet, kicking some rocks along the way. Isaiah looked ahead to the day when Jesus would come. And he prophesied that the very things would happen to him that Jesus says would happen to him: Some wonder, how did Jesus know all that was about to happen to him? All that prediction stuff must have been added later. Well Jesus knew, first of all because He was God. But even without supernatural knowledge, he would have known because He knew His Bible. And he knew what it said would happen to the Messiah. Isaiah, speaking from the perspective of the Suffering Servant, says: Isaiah 50:6 “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.” Isaiah 50:7 “But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” Despite what awaits him, the Suffering Servant goes with confidence and determination. Jesus was determined to serve. This week I was reading about a woman by the name of Beatrice Stockley. • Beatrice Stockley was a Swiss woman, who felt the call of God to go serve the people of Mali in Western Africa. ◦ So she went. • And while there, she was abducted by radical Muslims, accused of sharing her faith with women and children in the city of Timbuktu. • After being held for a period of time, she was released and told to leave Mali and never return. • So Beatrice returned home to Switzerland, yet the call of God on her life was unmistakable. She had to go back to Mali. ◦ Her family begged her to stay. ◦ Her friends, pleaded with her. Don’t go. Stay here. ▪ But she went. • And in 2016, she was again kidnapped. And now, for the past two years, all communication has silenced. ◦ No one knows where Beatrice Stockley is. ▪ Some might say she was foolish. ▪ Some might say it was a bad idea. • But yet Beatrice Stockley was determined to go, and serve even if it cost her life. I often mention the story of John Paton. Missionary to the Vanuatu Islands. When he announced his plans to his church, everyone tried to talk him out of it. • One elder jumped up in church and said – the cannibals John, you’ll be eaten by the cannibals. ◦ You remember John’s response? • I’m paraphrasing, but basically, he said you’re right. I might go and be eaten by the cannibals. But if I stay, then what? I’ll die, my body will be put in the ground, and I’ll be eaten by worms. Cannibals or worms, either way I’m going to be somebodies lunch. Might as well be the cannibals. Because maybe, just maybe, I’ll win some to Christ before they eat me. Determination. Unswayed resolve. Is there any of that in your commitment to serve? Is there anything about your commitment to serving others that makes the world stop and say – wait a second there’s something different here. In Romans we’re told that one of the marks of a true Christian is that: Romans 12:10 “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Outdo one another in lifting others above ourselves. Is there any determination to serve among us? Or are we too often like the disciples we see in these verses? They had a determination as well. And it involved serving. But they were on the receiving end, not the giving. The Disciples Determination to Be Served The famous theologian Bob Dylan once said • You gotta serve somebody / might be the devil, might be the Lord. But Dylan left out an option didn’t he? He left out the option that most of us choose most of the time. Ourselves. Most of us, left to our own human inclinations, our own natural desires, want to serve ourselves. And have others serve us well. We want to be served. And we see this in the disciples. After Jesus explains everything that is about to happen to him, what’s their response? It’s almost hard to believe isn’t it: Mark 10:35 “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.” I will often get frustrated at my kids when after a day out where money and time was spent on fun activities, we’ll get in the car and they’ll ask for something else. Or point out what they didn’t get that day. That’s like the disciples in these verses. But really, it’s like all of us isn’t it. How many of us after we read our Bibles in the morning, or whenever you have your devotions, close them, forget everything you just read and tell God – ok this is what I want you to do for me. We aren’t that much different than these disciples are we: • God, I know that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. • God I know that even though there is no one who does good, I will stand before you blameless and faultless because of Jesus. • God I know that you work all things together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purposes. • God I know every good and perfect gift comes down from above…from you. And you have given me so many good gifts…but you haven’t given me this one. And I really want this one. And what is it that the disciples want? Mark 10:37 "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." They want to be served. They want the seats of honor. Jesus tells them that they don’t know what they are asking for. Because before the glory, comes suffering. In fact, the next time we hear that phrase – one at his right and one at his left – it won’t be beside a throne, but beside a cross. Mark 15:27 “And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.” Disciples you don’t know what you are asking. Are you ready to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am about to be baptized? Both of these terms – the cup and the baptism – refer to the suffering that Jesus is about to experience. The physical suffering of the cross, but even more than that the suffering of the wrath of God that will be poured out on Jesus on the cross. As he becomes sin for the sake of His people. Are you ready for that? Disciples? We are, they say. There quick answer telling us that they don’t know what in the world he’s talking about. But whether they know it or not, Jesus says, they will suffer. Not the wrath of God that He will suffer. No one who follows Him will ever suffer that. But, he promises us, that everyone who follows him will suffer. James and John are no exception. In Acts 12 we read about the death of James. Acts 12:1-2 “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword” John was not martyrd, one of the few disciples who wasn’t. But yet he suffered being exiled the desolate island of Patmos. And while there, he wrote the book of Revelation, where in chapter 1, he describes himself as: Revelation 1:9 “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus” Both of these men suffered. But something changed in them between Mark 10 and their own experience of suffering. We notice this change most clearly in Acts chapter 5. • In Acts 5 all of the disciples have been arrested for preaching Jesus in the temple. ◦ And they are brought before the Sanhedrin to be tried. ◦ And they are warned, never to preach Jesus again, and are beaten. ▪ The word that Luke uses for beaten, means much more than simply a slap on the wrist. It’s a severe beating. It’s a similar word that Luke used to describe Jesus’ own beating before his crucifixion. • But notice what happens next: Acts 5:41-42 “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.” Look at the change in these men. • What are they demanding in Mark 10? Honor. Glory. What are they celebrating in Acts 5? That they were dishonored. • In Mark 10 they are demanding Jesus – “whatever we ask of you we want you to do.” But now, in Acts, they say – “whatever you ask of us, we will obey.” • They have gone from seeking their glory, to living for the glory of another. • And they have gone from seeking to be served, to serving. Even if that means suffering. What has changed? Well what has changed is what we find at the end of our passage in Mark 10. They have been sent to serve by the suffering servant. Sent to Serve by the Suffering Servant Read those verses with me again: Mark 10:42-44 “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.” Now those words are familiar to us. We heard almost the same thing back in chapter 9, but this time Jesus adds something. Just like he added more details in the prediction of his suffering. He adds more details. But the detail he adds, is an example. An illustration. And it’s this illustration that made all the difference in the world for the disciples. And it’s this illustration that is what drives us to lives of service. It’s what overcomes our inclination to be served rather than serve. And that is illustration, that example, is the person who is standing right in from them. Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus says “for even”, you think that what I am saying to you is beyond you, or beneath you? That serving isn’t something that one of the Messiah’s inner ring should be doing? Consider this “For even the Son of Man” serves. That title the Son of Man reminds us of Jesus’ humanity. That he was truly human. But it also reminds us that this Son of Man, is also described in Mark 1:1 as the Son of God. This one who came to serve is God, who has become man. God who became flesh. Jesus is the God who Colossians 1 tells us created all things. He’s the one for whom all things are created. All of creation would bow before Jesus. To give him honor. To bring him glory. The host of heaven would willingly lay themselves at his feet to do his bidding. He merely gives the word, and it will be carried out. But yet, this God has become flesh. He has come. And he has come why? Not to be served. But to serve. This word serve refers to the most common form of service. We see what it means in Lukes account of this where Jesus says: Luke 22:27 “For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” It’s the image of a waiter. This is how Jesus has come. Not as the host of the feast, not even as the guest. But as the one who waits the tables. This is the Jesus that we are following. This is the Jesus who has put his Spirit within us. This is the Jesus who is our Lord. The one who came to serve. Do we look at all like him? Getting down on his knees, and washing the dirty feet of his disciples. Sitting and embracing the children. Reaching out and touching the diseased and outcast? Do we look like Jesus? Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Have this mind among yourselves. Think like this Paul says. Empty yourself for the sake of others. Lower yourself to lift others up. How far must we go in this? To what extent? There is no limit. Jesus, who was enthroned in heaven, went to the cross. No distance you go will ever be the great. Nothing you ever have to give up will never be that costly. In his book The General Next to God Richard Collier writes of the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth. And he writes this: In 1878 when William Booth’s Salvation Army had just been so named, men from all over the world began to enlist. One man, who had once dreamed of himself as a bishop, crossed the Atlantic from America to England to enlist. He was a Methodist minister, Samuel Logan Brengle. And now he turned from a fine pastorate to join Booth’s Salvation Army. Brengle later became the Army’s first American-born commissioner. But at first Booth accepted his services reluctantly and grudgingly. Booth said to Brengle, “You’ve been your own boss too long.” And in order to instill humility into Brengle, he set him to work cleaning the boots of the other trainees. And Brengle said to himself: “Have I followed my own fancy across the Atlantic in order to black boots?” And then as in a vision he saw Jesus bending over the feet of rough, unlettered fishermen.” “Lord,” he whispered, “you washed their feet; I will black their boots. Conclusion Living Hope Fellowship. Let me encourage us today. • As we are excited about the future. • As we are filled with joy about where the Lord has brought us. Let me admonish us all. • We are here to serve. • This building is here to provide a place for us to serve. ◦ To serve one another, and to serve others. ◦ And you are sent from here each week to serve. What did Jesus accomplish with his service? (Mark 10:45) • His death on the cross was the ransom for many. ◦ The word ransom refers to a price that was paid to set others free. His death set many free. ▪ Many of you here this morning are part of that “many”. ◦ You have been set free from your bondage to sin, you have been set free from the judgment that was awaiting you because of your sin. ▪ Because of Jesus’ life and death as a servant. Our service won’t accomplish that. But it will point others to that. And whatever you give up to serve others, whatever you have to leave behind, whatever comforts whatever entertainments, whatever sacrifices you make in this life, if God uses them to bring about the salvation of even just one other person, it will be worth it.