“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)
We will finish the tenth chapter of Mark this Sunday by considering a lengthy passage consisting of 3 parts: 1) Jesus again foretelling his death and resurrection, 2) Jesus answering his disciples’ request for glory with a statement about his sacrificial life, and 3) Jesus healing a blind man. We will look at all these together because they harmoniously testify to the one big truth of this chapter: humble sacrifice as it is embodied in Jesus Christ.
To this point we have seen how following Jesus requires radical sacrifice. Some of his disciples would pay the ultimate price, but all will have to be transformed in heart. The kingdom of Christ is completely different from this world and citizenship in that kingdom means a completely different mindset about worldly things such as marriage, children, and possessions. Jesus used the example of a small child to illustrate the humble thinking required in his kingdom. Here, he will use himself.
The ultimate example of humility and self-sacrifice is Jesus. The one whom the angels served for eternity came to this world “to serve.” The one who was worshipped in heaven came to a sin-cursed world to “ransom many.” He was born in humble beginnings, lived a life of simplicity, and would eventually be killed before rising again. There is no greater example of humility because there is no greater disparity between the throneroom of heaven and the manger in Bethlehem, no greater disparity between the worship of angelic hosts and the sacrifice of a bloody cross. But this sacrifice was Jesus’ mission on Earth, and during his ministry, he was sharply focused on this mission.
Humility in marriage, in relationships, at work, and in the church could be hard to come by. Indeed, God has given us the resources to have a servant’s heart but our flesh often gets in the way. What we sometimes need is a stark reminder of the depth of Christ’s humility as we seek to humble ourselves. Taking a good look at Christ’s ministry on the road to the cross will help us to put everything else in perspective. This Sunday, be ready to put yourself in the place of the disciples on their way to Jerusalem, following the Savior whose eyes were fixed on the cross. Let us also fix our eyes on the cross and remember the sacrifice of Jesus, that we may sacrifice for others, to the glory of God.