[Jesus] sat down and called the twelve disciples over to him. Then he said, “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” – Mark 9:35
Good coaches know that when things are going badly, it is necessary to call a team meeting. It happens in families, too; Father decides it is time to call everybody together to go over basic family rules. And businesses do the same thing; management closes down the operation for a day, calls the staff together, and addresses the issues that need to be confronted.
There is a great precedent for this approach. Jesus did it with his disciples: “He sat down and called the twelve disciples over to him” (Mark 9:35), and he began to go over some of the things that he had decided needed special emphasis!
Jesus started with the issue of spiritual pecking order, which the disciples were apparently concerned about. He said, “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else” (9:35). They couldn’t argue, because Jesus modeled it! Then he addressed their elitist attitude toward their ministry. They had come across somebody who was using the name of Jesus to cast out demons, but because he did not belong to the twelve they “told him to stop” (9:38). Jesus said that was the wrong thing to do. If the man was genuinely operating in the name of Jesus—that is, out of a genuine relationship with Christ—there was no problem with him doing the same type of ministry as Christ and his twelve disciples were doing.
Then Jesus turned his attention to the subject of causing people to be hindered in their spiritual lives. He told them, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone around the neck” (9:42). Harsh words indeed. The little ones to whom he referred could have been either the children who were gathered around or young believers like the man who was casting out demons. Either way, the message was clear. Using dramatic, symbolic language to make his point, Jesus warned of the consequences of sin, not only in terms of the harm it does to others but also with regard to the eternal destiny of the sinner. The point of the heart-to-heart talk was to remind his disciples that they were called to be special—”salty”—and that they were in danger of becoming ordinary—of losing their flavor!
Attitudes and actions speak loudly and make a profound, sometimes detrimental, impact on other people. Rather than be responsible for causing someone else “to lose faith,” strict discipline should be self-imposed. That way, men who follow Jesus can keep their Christlike flavor. Jesus likes his salt salty!
For Further Study: Mark 9:38 – 50
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Stuart Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.
Pastor David Scharf
“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him’” (Matthew 27:41,42).
Ironically, the religious leaders kind of had a point. Jesus came not to save himself but to save us humans! Jesus came not for his benefit but for our benefit. Jesus stayed on that cross not because it was helpful for him but because it was VITAL for us!
So we are filled with awe on this day. Imagine! God loves you and me so much that he’s willing to go to the cross for us! God loves us so much that he’s willing to lay down his life for us! And the devil can try to lead you and me to doubt, to wonder if God really loves us, but the cross drives those doubts away. Look! Jesus is up there! He’s up there for you! He’s up there because he loves you!
And, oh yeah, let’s be clear; if he had wanted to come down, he had the ability to do so. And that makes it all the more beautiful. He did all this—went through all this suffering—willingly. That’s how much he loves you; that’s how much he loves me.
No wonder we call this Friday, “Good.”
Every Drop of Jesus invites you on a deliberate and unhurried journey through the gospel of John. It contains Bible readings, journal pages, insights, and further study questions to help you think deeply about the meaning of John’s simple yet profound words about our Savior Jesus Christ.
This book is great for personal reflection, but it would also serve well for a digital Bible study as you gather with others remotely to study God’s Word and worship your big GOD!