Yesterday I was ‘west of the Bann‘, preaching in Dungannon Baptist Church where the church meets in their recently built (3 years) facility.
In the morning service they’d asked me to preach from a passage in Mark 10, including Jesus’ teaching on true greatness.
There were three observations on true greatness.
- It challenges our personal ambitions. James and John came to Jesus with a bold request: key seats in his glory. The reason the other disciples were annoyed when they heard that James and John had asked for this was no doubt prompted by a sense that James and John had stolen a march on them. Ambition can be a tricky thing to handle. It should not be thought of as an unchristian concept, but we need to recognise that it is possible to have our minds set on a good thing for a bad reason. What better area to be ambitious than the Kingdom of God? Kingdom ambition is great as long as that is what it is; when the Kingdom is simply the vehicle for our self-promotion, we are in trouble. That’s why we need to understand what true greatness is.
- It is not what we sometimes expect. It’s not what was modelled in the governing officials of Jesus’ day, where the leaders were known by the way they lorded over those further down the food chain. Greatness is not measured by the number of people you get to tell what to do, by the number of people who serve you. True greatness is more accurately measured by the number of people that you serve.
- It is exemplified in Jesus. No leper was too unclean, no tax-collector too sinful, no child too insignificant, no disciple’s feet were too filthy – not even those of Judas. Jesus is the Servant King who came to serve and to give his life as a ransom.