GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 28
By: Dr. Robby Gallaty
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|An incorrect view of ourselves results in an incorrect view of Jesus.|
Pride and Prejudice Part 1
Good morning. The title of the message this morning is Pride and Prejudice. This morning as we look at the New Testament scripture, we’re going to see the disciples and they have an incorrect view of themselves and the mission, which ultimately—get this—stems from an incorrect view of Jesus. So because they looked at Jesus with an incorrect view, ultimately it led to an incorrect view of themselves. This morning, I want you to have an incorrect view the Savior so that you will have an incorrect view of yourself in order for you to eliminate the prideful trap that the disciples fell into. If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Mark 9:30.
“They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know [so He’s taking them to a place where we don’t even know where they’re going], for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men [notice that, underline that, the Son of Man and men] and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.’ But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.”
Let me show you the correct view of the Savior. Write that down. The correct view of the Savior. Now, in order for us to have a correct view of the Savior, let me share with you an incorrect view of the Savior. In the first century, the Jewish people awaited a Messiah who would deliver them from the oppression of the Gentiles by force. They believed the Messiah would come and destroy and ravish and destroy all the enemies that have put them down. That’s what they thought in their own mind and I’ll prove it to you.
When Peter was in the garden with Jesus and Jesus is about to arrested when Judas is about to kiss His cheek, what does Peter do? Peter’s ready, pulls out a sword or a knife and he cuts the ear of the soldier off. It’s game on for Peter. Peter is ready to fight and Jesus said, “Whoa, whoa, Peter. That’s not the mission, brother. I’ve come for something different.” I’ll prove it to you again. Remember when James and John were looking at the Samaritans? The Sons of Thunder? You don’t get that name by being calm, right? The Sons of Thunder. They said, “Jesus, let’s just call down fire from heaven and disintegrate the people!” Right? “Whoa, Peter, James, John, you guys are missing it. That’s not what I came to do.” That was the wrong view of the Messiah.
Let me give you the correct view of the Messiah. Jesus corrects their faulty thinking. Write this down, first of all, He says, “I must be delivered.” I must be delivered. Look at the play on words in the text: “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men….” The One who created man will ultimately die at the hands of men.
The word betrayed is an interesting word. It’s a word that means to be disloyal. It’s another word to mean to give over. Now Mark 8:31 tells us who Jesus will fall at the hands of. Look at it. He will suffer at the hands of the religious leaders, verse 31, the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes of the teachers of the law. Now, when we think of the word betrayed, we almost have this idea that Jesus just haphazardly fell into their hands or Jesus by happenstance fell by their schemes. That’s not the case. In fact, the word delivered or betrayed could actually be translated—get this—as handed over. It’s the Greek word in the tense of the divine passive.
Now let me explain to you the divine passive. The divine passive is a tense in Greek that always has God as the subject of the action. So Jesus has not haphazardly fallen into the plans of the evil men. It’s God who hands him over to these evil men. There’s a hint here at Isaiah 53. Turn there quickly. Let me show you the connection between this text and Isaiah 53:6. Messianic song, messianic text about the Messiah. Watch this. Verse 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; [here it is] and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Who laid it on Him? The Lord. One commentator says, “Jesus’ incomprehensible fate is for the benefit of the ones at whose hands He died. And for that benefit, in accordance with God’s immutable will for all of humankind.” What he’s saying is this: it’s no accident that Jesus suffered, was delivered, died on the cross and rose from the dead. The key verse is in Isaiah 53:10. Look at this one. This is unfathomable. Listen, church: “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him.”
One translation says it pleased God to crush the Son. Why did it please God to crush the Son? Because that was the only means by which God could bring redemption for the world. So the first thing Jesus says, “Let me correct your faulty thinking. I’m going to be handed over by God. God planned this. Secondly, I’m going to be murdered.” Write that down. “Robby, why murder? Why not kill?” I think murder is a stronger word, don’t you? I mean, you can go out and kill deer or ducks or rabbits. How many people like to hunt? I mean, you can just kill animals. But the word murder carries a stronger meaning. Listen to what murder is. Murder is the unlawful killing of a person, especially with malicious intent. Church, don’t miss this. These people murdered our Lord. They murdered him.
And Jesus says, “But don’t miss this, I’m going to be raised from the dead.” There’s redemption. There’s deliverance, there’s murder and there’s redemption. It says in the text—go back to Mark—that he will rise after three days. It’s important to remember here that Jesus is the one who laid his own life down. John 10:18, Jesus tells His disciples, “No one has taken my life away from me but I lay it down on my own initiative. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again.” Jesus willingly submitted to the providence of the Father and the malicious plans of the men. Jesus willingly submitted to the murder of the misguided religious leaders and the politically corrupt politicians. It was Jesus who surrendered and submitted to the will of God. This is unfathomable for us, right? The ones he came to save will be the ones who ultimately kill him. Jesus says, “Guys, I’m going to die, I’m going to suffer, I’m going to be betrayed.”
Well the disciples see an opportunity to pass out résumés, right? “Jesus, we want to pick spots. We want positions. Let’s go ahead and lay it out now before you go talking about this death stuff. We want to know who’s going to be at what place and at what time.” So the disciples say, “Jesus, let’s talk about us.” And basically that’s what they begin to do. They start talking about themselves. They want positions. They want to apply for power. They want to see who controls real estate. Jesus says, “Let me give you a correct view of the Savior.”
But then he corrects their view of themselves. Look what happens in the text. Verse 33: “And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’” That word discussing is the same word for arguing. This had gotten heated. It’d been a debate with the disciples. “But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued…about who was the greatest.”
“Jesus, we want to know who’s the best. We want to know who’s first and who’s second and who’s third. We want to know who’s leading the pack here, Jesus.” And Jesus said to the disciples as he sat down, he called the twelve to himself, “And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’ And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.’”
Who is God. Write down the first problem. The disciples had a problem with position. They had a problem with position. On the way, the disciples are in deep discussion. They’re arguing over who they think is the best. Peter’s saying, “Listen, there’s no way you guys are the greatest. Man, I was the one who went up to the mountain, don’t you remember? It was me that God brought up to the top.” James pipes in and says, “Yeah, but, Peter, I was there too. In fact, I as the one who saw Moses and Elijah with my own eyes.” Peter says, “Oh, no, James, you missed it, though. I’m the one that Jesus called the rock. Don’t you guys remember?” Then Judas pipes in, “If you guys don’t understand, I’m the one funding the ministry here. Jesus handed the money over to me.”
And then Jesus speaks up. He says, “Hey guys. What were you talking about?” and what did they say? They said, “Nothing.” They were silent. It’s as if Jesus gives them an opportunity to confess their sin. In the language of the New Testament, when Jesus asks the question, it’s almost in the language that he continually asks the question. “Matthew, what were you talking about? John, what’s all the fuss about? Peter, what were you saying just a moment earlier?” In the language of the New Testament, it gives the response that the disciples kept quiet. They continually kept quiet. They had nothing to say at this point. See, when Jesus gave them an opportunity to confess their sin, they were all but silent; they were embarrassed and their wordless confession says it all.
I wonder how you respond when the Lord confronts you about your pride. If you want to be first, you’ve got to be what? Second? Third? Fifth? What does he say? You’ve got to be last. “Is that what you really said, Jesus? Do you really mean that?” In case you didn’t get it, let me just say this. In fact, if you want to be first, you’ve got to be the servant of all, you’ve got to be the lowest. Matthew adds this, “Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” See, humility, folks, is not thinking less of oneself. Humility is not thinking of oneself at all. Right? Jesus said, “To be great in the kingdom of God, you must be the least of all.
Now this is the upside down kingdom. See, if you’re reading the Bible for the first time, you’re starting to believe and read that what the world proposes is in contrast to what the Bible prescribes, right? Jesus said if you want to be great, you’ve got to humble yourself. If you want to be exalted, you’ve got to humble yourself. If you want to gain life, you’ve got to what? You’ve got to lose it. If you want to have something, you’ve got to what? You’ve got to give. Jesus says if you want to be first, you have to be what? You have to be last. Now that’s hard for us to get. I have to be honest. That’s difficult for us because we live in a society where’s it’s all about success. It’s about being the best at what we do. There’s nothing wrong with being the best at what we do.
The question is the motive of the heart. What is your motive for being the best at what you do? Friends, I think the question is why do we do what we do? If we’re serving the Lord so that people can look at us, then we’re sadly mistaken. Let me give you a scripture Jesus quoted or Jesus said to the disciples. He quoted them all, but let me a give you a scripture he says to the disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:1, “Beware. Look out. You’re practicing your righteousness before me to be seen by them because if you do, you will have no reward, you will have no reward from your Father, Who is in heaven.” Jesus said, “If you’re serving me so that other people can look at you, then you’re sadly mistaken.”
This is, I believe, church, the hardest lesson the disciples had to learn. It was the hardest thing for them to rewire their thinking because they thought when Jesus conquered the world, in their mind, they were going to sit on the platform with him. And it’s even a problem right before Jesus goes to the cross and dies. Right before Jesus goes to the cross, he performs what’s called the Passover meal. He participates in the Passover meal, the Last Supper, if you will. Luke 22:24 records for us the very instance that happens before the Passover. It’s Jesus gathering with His disciples.
Luke 22:24. Notice what the disciples are discussing once again: “A dispute also arose among them [again], as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.” Now, Jesus is thinking about the cross and his ensuing death, the pain, the betrayal, the crucifixion, and all his guys want to talk about is, “Jesus, who’s the best? Who’s the greatest?” The very next instance in this text is John 13. Jesus says to himself probably, “They missed it,” realizing that they still don’t get it. They’re not interested in bowing to one another. They want to be put on a pedestal. So Jesus says, “I’m going to show you guys what I mean.” Can you fathom it? The Son of God, the heir to the universe, God himself, takes off the outer garment, wraps himself with a towel, fills up a basin of water, and bows the knee to these prideful, arrogant disciples and washes their feet. Can you fathom that? That was reserved for the lowest of the servants. And yet the Son of God bows the knee to these men.
And when he finishes bowing the knee, he says these words in John 13, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.”
“Guys, this is what I’m saying. If you want to be first, you’ve got to be the last of all and the servant of all.” That word servant is the Greek word diakonos. It’s the English word for what? What do we get that word from? Deacon. Did you know the deacons in the church should be the chief servants and the only persons below the deacons are who? The pastors. We’re the lowest. Pastors, deacons, and the church. We’re the chief servants. That word diakonos is translated a couple of different ways.
It’s used in John 12:2 when Mary and Martha were entertaining Jesus. You remember the story? Jesus comes into the house; Mary anoints his feet with oil. What is Martha doing? She’s like my Mom, she’s cooking dinner, right? She’s always busy in the kitchen. But the text says that Martha served them. That’s the idea. It’s the idea of waiting tables. Is the idea of taking something and delivering it. “Yes, can I help you with that? What can I do? Is your drink filled? Okay. Do you need a new napkin?” That’s the idea, waiting on tables.
It’s the same word used in Acts 6 when they were gathering deacons. They saw that the work of ministry was not being done. It was being neglected. “And so they called for themselves men who were filled with the Holy Spirit because it is not right for us to give up the preaching of the word [here it is, “to diakonos tables,” or] to serve tables.” Now, normally, when you and I think of the word service we think of a slave, right, to a master. We think of an employee working for an employer. We think of something that we have to do. It’s begrudging for us to do.
Plato said it this way, “How can a man be happy when he has to serve someone?” And that’s the idea of the world. But if you have that idea of service, my friends, it’s not biblical. See, service to the Lord Jesus Christ is the act of love for your neighbor. You serve because you’ve been saved, right? We’re saved to serve. Jesus said you serve because you love the lost and you love one another and, most importantly, you love your neighbor. See, greatness in the kingdom of God is not reserved for those who are the most talented or have the most ability or are the most privileged. For God, the greatest in the kingdom is the one who’s serving.
If you’re a Christian business owner or you’re an executive in a company and you tell people what to do all day long, you need to remember that you should serve people. Amen? It doesn’t matter what your position is at work. The question I want to ask you is are you serving your superiors—get this—and your inferiors? Are you serving both? Are you serving all people? Are you humbling yourself before the Lord and saying what can I do for you? It’s not choosing sides because, if you’re not, you’re being disobedient to the Lord. And this doesn’t go for just executives or business owners. It goes for teachers. It goes for lawyers. It goes for engineers. It goes for coaches. It goes for bankers. And especially, it goes for ministers.
See, they had a problem first of all with people or position. But the second problem they had was with people. They didn’t view people in the right way and that’s why Jesus says, “Let me give you an object lesson.” He takes a child in his arms and he says these words, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. And whoever receives me doesn’t receive me but receives the One who sent me.” See, children in the first century were overlooked and looked over. Women and children were the lowest members of society and Jesus takes this child who was a perfect illustration of the last or the least of all. The child is a sign of service.
See, we must serve children. Did you know that? If you don’t believe you don’t have to serve children, ask any parent of a newborn child. We serve children, amen? But you know what children show me as I was thinking about children? Babies are not high on the popular or political ladder, but they will show you their worth by the service that is required of them. They demand service. I think that’s what Jesus is saying here. Jesus is saying you need to serve people like you would serve a child. You need to care for their needs. You need to tend to their issues. I think what he’s saying is this: You should take the hopeless, helpless, most insignificant person you know and serve them. Why, God? Why would we do that? “Because when you serve them—come in real close—you serve me.” That’s what he’s saying.
Go with me to Matthew 25. Jesus spells it out for the disciples. Verse 35. Jesus says, “‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ [Where were you? Jesus said], ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’”
What an indictment on the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. See, but Jesus is not just saying that we need to take care of people as a child. There’s another aspect to the text. Jesus is also saying, “You need to come to me like a child with childlike faith. You need to come and approach me with childlike belief.” You know what I’ve realized? Analytical, intellectual, sophisticated people who try to come to God that way always have a hindrance in their faith because they try to figure it out. They try to analyze it and what God says is, “You need to come to me with childlike faith and belief and trust in me.”
Now here’s the glaring question that you’re asking and I’m asking when I read this text. Okay, that makes sense. “But, Robby, how do I avoid pride and prejudice towards other people? How do I deal with this in my life?” See, humility is not just taking an honest look at yourself. Get this. Humility is taking an honest look at yourself after you’ve taken into account who God is. Only then, after you look at God, can you then look at yourself.
John Calvin says it this way, “It is evident that man never attains a true self-knowledge of himself until he’s previously contemplated the face of God and then come down after such contemplation to look at himself.” See, when we stop reminding ourselves of the gospel, there is pride. That’s why Jesus, on three accounts, talks about his death, burial, and resurrection right when the disciples are talking about pride. You know what he’s saying to us? Folks, we need to preach to ourselves the gospel every single day because when we look at the gospel and realize that Jesus died and rose from the dead, was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, we can only look at ourselves. There’s no room for pride at that moment. If our Lord and Master was treated that way, Jesus said, can we expect any less from us? See, the gospel is the weapon that kills pride.
Now, if you’re not killing pride, pride’s going to be killing you. And I don’t care how old you are and I don’t care how long you’ve been in the faith. I don’t care if you’re a pastor. If you’re not actively aware of pride in your life, it will kill you.
At the conclusion of the summer of 2005, my friend, David Platt, had spent a month in SE China or SE Asia in China and when he’d come back, he told us about all the great things the Lord allowed him to do. For one month, he got to teach pastors about the gospel. He shared about life. There were three guys in that meeting besides David Platt; me, Chris Moses, and Rob Wilton. We were all working with David at the time. David poured his heart out to us. He said, “Guys, I saw God move in an incredible way. I got to go to these underground churches in China. I wore a hood at night. They snuck me into this place and I couldn’t leave because if they knew I was there, I’d be persecuted or imprisoned. And so I stayed with these men underground and I taught them the Bible.
“The first day, I got up and I preached and taught a background of a book of the Old Testament and after I finished teaching on that book, about an hour into it, one of the pastors raised his hand. He said, ‘Oh, Brother David, can you teach us more books of the Old Testament?’ David said, ‘I’d love to. What book were you looking to learn?’ They said, ‘Oh, we want to learn the whole thing, the whole Old Testament.’”
David said, “For the next 15 hours straight, I taught them the Old Testament. As I was leaving that day exhausted, they to me and they said, ‘Brother David, can you teach us more?’” And David said, “Well what do you want me to teach you?” “We want to learn the entire New Testament.” And David said, “I shared the New Testament.” That was when God birthed in his heart the desire for what is now called the Secret Church. He shared with them about God and what God was doing.
He came back to America, he said, after that time, and David was obviously burdened. He said, “Guys, you want to know what the Lord showed me this summer? This is what God showed me through all that time because, honestly, what I was thinking is, ‘Boy, God’s got to be proud of David. I mean, David is an asset to the kingdom of God. What would God do without David Platt? That was awesome.” David said, “You know what God showed me this summer? God showed me that he doesn’t need me.” What? “Guys, what God showed me is he doesn’t me. You know what, Robby and Chris and Rob? He doesn’t need you either.”
And friends, I’m here to tell you this morning, guess what? God doesn’t need you at all. God doesn’t need me. God can do what he wants to do apart from us. He’s going to build his kingdom. If we don’t praise him, the rocks will cry out and praise him. He doesn’t need any of us. But oh, what a joy that we get to co-labor with the God of the universe, that he calls us into service, that we not only get to live with him, not only get to love him, but we get to labor with him. Oh what a joy it is to be called by God to serve him. Amen? See, when you understand God in that light, there’s no room for pride. One thing I’ve learned about God is he will not share the stage with anyone.
Why are you serving the Lord? Why are you serving the Lord? Is it for pride? Prestige? For a one-way ticket to heaven? Or is it because God has done so much in your life that you can’t help but serve him? That God has saved you from so much that you can’t help but love him and live for him.
Let me ask you a question. Would you serve the Lord if no one ever recognizes you? Would you serve the Lord and go into ministry if no one ever respected you? Would you write a book if no one ever read it? Would you preach a sermon if no one ever listened? Would you pastor a church if it never grew? Would you go overseas and be a missionary if you never saw one convert? Would you take a mission trip even if you know you risk death and persecution because you love the Lord so much, that’s all you can do for God? See, that gets to you heart, that gets to motive of your heart.
Friends, I want you to write down two things you need to ask yourself before you do anything for the Lord. Here they are. You need to write them down. Here they are. The first one is this: you ask yourself whose kingdom am I building? God’s or mine? Because that’s a fine line and I’ve walked it. Whose kingdom am I building—God’s or mine? And secondly, whose agenda am I following—mine or God’s?