Wednesday, February 15, 2017
A Carnal Attitude
“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.
And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?
They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:35-38)
The disciples were very competitive, arguing about who would be the greatest in Mark 9:34, and forbidding others to preach in Jesus name in an effort to eliminate competition. Writing some twenty years earlier than Mark, says James and John’s mother was the one who asked for them to sit on Jesus’ right and left, in Matthew 20:21-23. In any case th4ey were seeking to get ahead of the other disciples.
Jesus said they didn’t even understand what they were asking for. To earn the right to the positions they were asking for, they would have to go through all the sufferings and sorrow he would go through. He asked if they thought they could do what he would do.
“And they said unto him, We can.
And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” (Mark 10:39-40)
The disciples still didn’t understand what Jesus meant about being killed and resurrected from the dead. They only had a partial understanding of what it meant for him to be the Messiah, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit had not yet come into them, to make them understand, because John 16:7 tells us the Spirit would not come until Jesus left. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” They were still living and walking in the flesh, and in their carnal pride, they believed they could do anything Jesus could do.
Jesus warned them that they would get to sample some of the things he would go through suffering persecution and eventually being killed, but he told them that he didn’t have the right to promise them such a position. God had prepared those positions for those he had chosen.
“And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:41-45)
The other disciples were quite upset with James and John’s efforts to get ahead of the rest of them. , Jesus called them together to settle the matter. He explained that in the unsaved world, the leaders exercised authority over the people, bossing them around and forcing them to do what they wanted, much like a boss or an officer in the military, in accordance with their rank. He said that this is unacceptable in the church. The one who was greatest in the church was to be the one who, instead of demanding his own way, spent his effort working on behalf of the others. This was the example Jesus set, putting up with their lack of faith and arguments, not scolding then for forgetting some food. He was never too busy or tired to stop to help someone in need, and he was concerned to supply food so that no one became weak on their way home.
A competitive, superior, or bossy attitude is a clear sign of a carnal, unspiritual heart. We need to learn to allow people to follow the Holy Spirit instead of trying to impose our will on them. Even Jesus’ clo0sest disciples struggled with this carnal attitude.