Surprising Greatness

Mark 10:35-45

Who is the greatest?  How would you answer that question?  You could survey the public for their choices–politicians, journalists, religious or business leaders.  You could turn to historians for their estimate based on the historical contributions of great individuals.

James and John were working for a prominent place in Jesus’ kingdom, one on His right and the other on His left.  They were measuring greatness by prestige or status.  The other disciples were furious when they heard about that request, probably because they wanted the same status.

Are we any different?  Do we not strive for greatness in our own way–degrees, job title, net worth and material possessions, social standing, number of celebrities we know personally, community organizations we join, or even church positions we hold.  We struggle, climb ladders, cultivate the right kind of friends, and hope to achieve greatness.

Jesus must have shocked the disciples when He spoke the words of our text.  As the greatest man who ever lived, He described His mission in life: “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 10:45).  He washed the disciples’ feet and “humbled Himself … to death, even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8).  Surprising greatness in humble service.

Jolted by Jesus’ words, we confess our fond ambitions and manipulative struggles to achieve greatness.  Redeemed, restored, forgiven, we pick up the towel and ready the basin of water for a life of service as we reach out to others.  Surprising greatness!

Prayer :  Lord, make me great in service as, You served on the cross for all.  Amen.

Excerpt taken from: My Daily Devotion by Stephen J. Carter, February 11