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“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and 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.”—Mark 10:43–45 (NIV)
I won’t force my kids to eat anything I won’t eat. I’ll never enforce the consumption of kale, brussels sprouts, mushrooms, vinegar, or quinoa upon them, because if I did then I wouldn’t feel right unless I ate it myself.
Today’s passage is the culmination of a conversation that began with James and John bringing their mom to ask Jesus for the best seats in His kingdom. This led to the other disciples getting upset. But Jesus uses this tense moment to teach one of the greatest lessons and clearest depictions of discipleship when He explains, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”
As explained in yesterday’s devotional, believers are not called “leaders” in Scripture, they’re referred to as servants. As Jesus’ disciples, we’re commanded to surrender and sacrifice all for the cause and kingdom of Christ. To be His disciple, we must give it all up for Him, forsake all, humble ourselves, and live in service to Christ, His kingdom, His people, and the world we’re trying to reach with the gospel! And here’s the beautiful thing about Jesus: He commands us to give it all up for Him and His kingdom, but He isn’t commanding us to do something He Himself didn’t do.
Jesus lived a life of service and gave up His life for everyone. He ate the kale! And He commands us to put others first, to live in service of the kingdom, to serve one another, to give up our lives . . . and He shows us how by doing the very same for us. He gave it all up for us (2 Corinthians 5:21, 8:9; Philippians 2:5–8), He laid down His life willingly (John 10:18), He got into the muck and the mess (Mark 5:25–34, 7:33; John 9:6), and He served with love, joy, and compassion (Mark 6:30–44; John 13:1–17). He literally laid down His life to save us, and calls us, His people who have been saved by His work, to lay down our lives (our old ways, our selfish desires, ambitions, agendas, and will) for Him, His will, His kingdom, and His purposes.
It’s such a privilege to be a believer. We get to follow the example of our Savior, we get to live for and be part of something so much greater than we could possibly imagine, we get to be used by God to bring people into salvation and lead them into the hope of eternity, we get to follow in the footsteps of our King and Lord—and all it takes is us laying down our less than lives for a greater kingdom and purpose! Praise Jesus for this glorious call.
PAUSE: Jesus laid down His life for you. What does it mean for you to lay down your life for Him and His kingdom?
PRACTICE: Recently, I encouraged you to go out of your way to serve another believer. This week, I encourage you to serve someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus. And be intentional about it. Pray about and consider what you can do that will be of true service to them.
PRAY: Lord Jesus, thank You. There are no other words. Thank You! You are Lord, King, Creator, sustainer, life-giver, all-powerful, glorious, and perfect, and You laid down Your life for my sins. You gave Your life, You paid the penalty for my wickedness, You bore the weight of the sins of the world upon the cross. Thank You, Lord! And thank You for the privilege of serving You and following Your example. Help me today, Jesus, to walk in service and humility. Help me to cast aside my selfish desires, ambitions, and agendas for the sake of Your kingdom and Your purposes. Help me serve others as You command. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.