Mark 9:33 Then they came to Capernaum. When He was in the house, He asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest. 35 Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Galatians 5:13 For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
Philippians 2:5-7, “Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave…” (Bible quotes from HCSB)
I am a follower of Jesus Christ because He has purchased me (bought my freedom) out of the slave market of sin. As my Master, Jesus compels me into His service; I am not compelled by force or by threats of violence, but by the power of His love (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 5:14-15). As my Lord, Jesus commands me to take on His posture (“the form of a slave”) and become a servant (a slave) to others.
I was reminded of the above after reading Mark chapter 9 this morning for my devotions. I took note that as Jesus walked down the road to Capernaum with his disciples (Wow! Wouldn’t you give anything to walk the road with Jesus?), His disciples were engaged in a “Who’s going to be the big man on campus” debate. Later, Jesus instructed His disciples (and us) to consider that greatness is not seen in how much status you have in the eyes of others. Jesus taught His disciples that greatness in God’s kingdom is seen in how much you serve. For when we take on the posture of slaves and serve one another, we take on the image of Jesus; and isn’t Jesus, truly, the greatest person of all.
Let’s be honest: we do not like being servants, and we especially do not like being called slaves. However, Michael Card reminds us (A Better Freedom) that the, “choice is not between slavery and freedom. The choice has always only been… whose slave will you be?” Michael Card continues, “As Jesus had offered wisdom through foolishness, maturity through childlikeness, and wealth through poverty,” Jesus’ followers understand that the only way to a “better freedom” is to be found in slavery to Christ.
“In order to become rich you must become poor, (Lk. 12:33) in order to become mature you must rediscover your own childlikeness, (Mk. 9:36) in order to become wise you must embrace the foolishness of the gospel. (I Cor. 3:18) In Jesus, life comes through death (Jn. 5:24) and the only true freedom comes from slavery to Him. (I Cor. 7:22) He came to turn the world upside down, to shatter all our definitions and images, and to fulfill them. The fundamental mysteries of following Jesus are always rooted in paradox.”
“These are the harsh realities of faith in Jesus and if we are to be followers of him, in the truest biblical sense, we must give ourselves to understanding them.” (Michael Card, A Better Freedom)