Faithlife Sermons

Serving: Checking our Motives

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Big Idea: We must check our motives and make sure that they align with Kingdom principles.
We all like recognition (things we are recognized for). Its a human trait. It helps us navigate through life in some ways. Even when being humble we want to be recognized by that. However we must be aware of when we cross over from this being healthy to it being sinful.

Their Motive

Mark 10:35–37 CSB
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them. They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory.”
Jesus had just taken His disciples to the side to tell them about the things that He was about to go through at the hands of the scribe and chief priest. Now we see James and John trying to take Jesus to the side to “put a bug in His ear”.
So what is it Son of Thunder? What do you want to say to Jesus? They say “we want you to do whatever we ask”. Right there we already mad at these cats. I mean yall got a lot of nerve in this piece. That’s a bold move right there. How selfish of them, right?
Notice something. This is the 1st time that we do not see the complete “inner circle” of Jesus together. We must remember that James, John, and Peter were the inner circle of Jesus but we don’t see Peter with these boys as they are making this high request. So they are trying to break away from the crowd and they have broken away from they’re mans and we see where this is going? (selfish ambitions don’t care who they have to step on to get to where they want to go).
If we see than surely Jesus sees it. How does He respond to their selfish disposition? By asking them what do they want Him to do. Understand that Jesus doesn’t ask questions so that He can finally know the answer. The answer is in the question. The problem is James and John didn’t know it yet. They had become so clouded with selfishness that they must’ve suppressed how selfish they were really being at this time. But Jesus pull this out them.
Not only were they being selfish, they were also being insensitive. Jesus had just shared the fact that He was going to be condemned to death, mocked, spit on, flogged, and killed (sure He also said He would rise in three days but they never mentioned the other stuff). James and John bypassed the suffering, saw the glory, and said “that’s what I want. Not only is James and John exposed to themselves, as we will see later, they are also exposed to the other disciples. Therefore , this becomes a teaching moment to all.
Let’s back up off of James and John for a minute. Sure they’re tripping big time but so are we sometimes. If we can be honest we too are at time consumed with our own selfish motives and behaviors. And sometimes we are unaware of just how selfish we are. James and John had to have had this discussion with each other before hand and somehow they missed it. You see often times it is in relationship or in community that our selfishness is exposed.
Self preservation is high on the list of humanity. However that preserving of life ought not stop with the one who possesses the life. It ought to ultimately led to the One who has given us life. So then, the highest experience of human life is not what we can obtain but instead it should be living out the purpose in which we were created and that is to worship Him.
Cross reference
Matthew 16:24–27 CSB
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it. For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each according to what he has done.

Wrong View of the kingdom

Mark 10:38–40 CSB
Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We are able,” they told him. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
Jesus ask them can they drink of the cup that He is about to drink (suffering). The say yes. Jesus says you will but you won’t get what you’re asking for. (and they did suffer).
They were talking on two different levels. James and John thought that Jesus was going to overturn Rome and establish His is Kingdom there. Whereas Jesus was talking about an entirely different kingdom.
When we have a wrong view of Jesus and His mission, we have a wrong view of the kingdom. When we have a wrong view of Jesus, His mission, and the kingdom.....we will ultimately have a wrong view of who we are and what we are supposed to be doing. Our motives will be jacked and filled with selfish and self righteous behavior.

Jesus Teaches

Mark 10:41–45 CSB
When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to 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.”
The others disciple hear what they are saying and they get upset, rightfully so. But Jesus takes this moment to teach not only James and John but all of them. He lays out the counter-cultural narrative of the kingdom. While society says that greatness is found in positions, the kingdom says that true greatness is found in serving.
Our example: Christ!
He laid down His life
The Gospel was and is Good News for the prideful
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