Monday, October 19, 2009

Have You Ever Wondered?

Have you ever wondered about Peter’s motives when he sought to prevent Jesus predicted suffering? Jesus rebuke makes me wonder,
You do not have in mind the things of God but the things of man
(Mark 8:33).

We can conjecture, and come to some logical conclusions, but are we right, or, more to the point: What do we learn from that moment in time?

Peter’s reasons are reflected in the other disciples’ actions in the ensuing couple of chapters. In Mark 9:33-34, we find the disciples had been disputing about who was the greatest,
Then they came to Capernaum. While Jesus was at home, he asked the disciples, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept silent, for on the road they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.

Then, in 10: 35-37 we see the heart of the matter, which is displayed so eloquently in much of the traditional church scene today; with ignorant temerity, induced by an over inflated opinion of their own importance, James and John asked Jesus to place them in a position of great honour.

Again, illustrating what we see commonly happening across the churches today, the other ten disciples get themselves involved in these ugly proceedings. We find them showing great concern that Zebedee’s two sons may be placed in a position which will have negative impact on their own selfish aspirations.

Notice the way the ten, after hearing Jesus initial response, try to squirm out of their implication in this farce, as they turn His attention to James and John ( v.41 ), but, Jesus continues in a way that must have been a solid blow to their regal ambitions for prominence amongst followers of Christ.

Their cherished desire , and strong drive, to be recognized as successful and influential, is rebuffed by Jesus, who compared their behaviour with the way the Roman political overlords functioned. He likened them to the very people who oppressed the Jews, who took advantage of them, and who would put Jesus to death in the very near future,
You know that those who are recognized as rulers among the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors act like tyrants over them.
The sinful nature of man was made very evident amongst the Roman political traders in power and oppression, and here were the disciples actually imitating them!

Can you tell me that the same attitude isn’t common amongst Christians today, amongst leaders who clamour for recognition, who love titles, and bask in the supposed glory of being seen as the top dog in the pack, often reminding congregations of their “authority”?

Jesus repudiated and reversed this Adamic human behaviour. To be a leader amongst the people of God is to eschew the enterprising, dominant spirit of religious political power. To be a leader in the family of God is to shun the obnoxious control and subjugation of people for narcissistic glory, the manipulation of congregations for ones own career ambitions. To be a discipler of disciples is to be a truly sacrificial servant and lover of others, who puts the interests of others before ones own.

This is what Jesus modeled, as the mark of greatness! He did so by His own life, teaching, death and resurrection.
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

Surely that must make those who have a penchant for regularly reminding congregations of their “authority” and “office” to think ?

Maybe I’m living on another planet!


Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

If you're on another planet I'm with you there and if I'm not... I want to know how to get there because you're at the right place. Well done.

I especially like this..."To be a discipler of disciples is to be a truly sacrificial servant and lover of others, who puts the interests of others before ones own."

I'm of the opinion you have given the description of EVERY gifted believer and ALL believers are gifted. So an "office" is of no need if we wish to live truly Christian. As I said...good stuff.

Aussie John said...


Thank you for your comment, and, as for "EVERY gifted believer and ALL believers", I agree wholeheartedly!

Somewhere in the dim, dark past, there was a song entitled 'Stop the World,I Want to Get Off!'. It comes to mind some times because I feel as if I simply don't belong on this planet any longer, especially in the church scene in which I spent most of my life.

Well! I have reached my 'use by date', the Biblical three score years and ten.:)

Joel B. said...

I think it was Larry Norman who named an album "Only Visiting This Planet." :) We're here, but we're not of it. And indeed, I wish that those who are all wrapped up in the hierarchical church system would get a whiff of that. To too many people, it's about having people 'under' them. It's about their positions, and having people respect and honor their "God-given" positions and "authority."

Anyway, great post!

This is probably not the song you're thinking of, but here is a song called "Stop the World" by Extreme. It's sort of got an Ecclesiastes theme to it. Overall, I think a good point is made in the song.

Aussie John said...


Oh, yes! How I wish they "would get a whiff of that"!

Why can leaders not see that they are as much imperfect sinners like the ones they purport to lead?

Because they don't really believe what they preach.

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