This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Mark 10:35-45 Heaven’s Definition of Greatness
Mark 10:35-45, Jesus once again told his disciples everything that would happen
to him in Jerusalem-his trial, death, resurrection and ascension. James and
John seized this opportunity to ask for the highest positions of honour in his
kingdom-at the right and left hands of Jesus. They forgot that God controls the
final destiny of each and every one of us. They expected a moment of glory, and
they wanted to enjoy it. No wonder Peter and the rest of the disciples were
upset. Jesus saw that a power struggle was developing, and he had to do
something about it.
disciples would have been wise to remember the old saying, “Be careful what you
wish for.” Jesus warned them that they would suffer like he would suffer. He
told them that they would be martyred for their faith, and in fact they were
martyred for their faith. James was the first of the disciples to die for
Christ. John was the last. He died in exile as an old man on the Greek island
we have the idea that if we follow Jesus we are guaranteed to receive a reward.
When that happens we forget that Jesus’ ministry was one of serving others. He
gave himself for the sake of others, including suffering for their salvation. Christians
today should be just as willing to suffer with Christ as they are to reign with
him. Nowhere is this more evident than in countries where being a Christian
could lead to jail, physical harm and even death. In our part of the world we
may never have to suffer the same consequences for following Christ, but there
will be times where we will have to endure our own brand of trials because of
our faith. We must remember that if we suffer here on earth for our faith, we
will be greatly rewarded in heaven.
as the standard of greatness corrupts people. You only have to look at some
politicians to see that this is the case. People who are corrupted by power
fail to realize that there is only a limited amount of power to go around. They
want to protect their position, while people who don’t have power want it. If
power is a standard of greatness in any organization, including the church,
ambition will rule and jealousy will reign.
wants strokes, and lots of them. Pride loves to get the credit, to be
mentioned, to receive glory. For example, those of you who were in the
workplace were likely in situations where your bosses should have given you the
credit you deserved, but for whatever reason they didn’t. When that happened, your
pride needed to be kept in check.
had the right to be mad at the disciples, but he realized that they were slowly
beginning to understand what ministry would involve. He chose to teach them the
meaning of true greatness by comparing human standards of greatness with God’s
standard of servanthood. In Jesus’ vision, greatness is equal to servanthood. Jesus
redefined the true nature of greatness. To be great does not mean to lord it
over someone. It means to willingly serve under someone. By giving his own life
as a ransom, Jesus-the Suffering Servant mentioned in Isaiah 53:10-12-would
soon show his followers ultimate humility.
we care about the things that hurt others, our hearts will be opened to their
pain, and that openness will lead to its own suffering. We need to see other
people and realize their importance to God. True humility and love for others
flows from the infinite love God has for his people. Christ gave his life to
God the Father as a ransom to pay for the sins of the people. The cup Jesus was
to drink from was God’s wrath. Jesus bore God’s wrath in the place of sinful
mankind. The cup the disciples would drink from would purify them and give God
we follow God, we lay the foundation for God’s kingdom here on earth. We have
been saved by the greatness of Jesus, and in return we are to serve Jesus by
serving others. Someone led us to Christ, so we must lead others to Christ.
Someone helped us to grow spiritually, so in return we must help others grow
spiritually. Someone was kind to us, and in return we are to be kind to others.
can be hard to remember in our fast-paced world. It can be easy to lose sight
of what it means to be great in God’s eyes, but if we slow down and open our
eyes we will see that opportunities to serve are all around us. It’s easy to
find them when we are at home. For example, we can do someone else’s chores or
prepare a special meal. We can also serve outside of our homes as well. We can hold
the door for a mom pushing a stroller or for someone who is carrying something
in their arms. Here at Queens Manor, we can help by helping a fellow resident
find a hymn in a hymn book or by being a true friend if someone needs to talk
about something. Regardless of what we do, we must serve gladly, because the
person we are serving could be an angel in disguise. When we serve others as
Jesus served us, we will know the true meaning of greatness. Being called by
God is not an invitation of ease and special treatment, but is an invitation to
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)
Bible. Part of Wordsearch 11 Bible software package.
& Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s
Commentary Series, Vol. 25: Mark (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1982)
J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASV
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)