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The First Must Be Last; the Servant of All

Mark 9:35

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Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Mark 9:35 NIV

How do you measure greatness in people? For some, it has to do with the size of one’s financial portfolio. For others, it is their position in the corporate or political world. And for others, it has to do with how many follow them on Twitter or Facebook. All of those, and many more, are measures of greatness in our culture.

But those measures that are meaningful in this world are meaningless in the kingdom of God. In this passage, Jesus turns the definition of greatness on its head. The standard of greatness in Jesus’ day was measured by the number of people who served you in some fashion. But Jesus’ definition of greatness was measured by how many people you yourself served. According to Jesus, the one who would be first must become last, the servant of all.

According to Jesus, it is not the pastor of the mega-church with a large staff and extensive campus who is great. Rather it is the nursery worker who wipes noses and bottoms. The one who serves, not only the little ones but also their parents, allowing them to be a part of Bible studies and worship.

Don’t get me wrong here. I am not dismissing those whom God has placed into leadership roles within his church. But even they have been called to serve. Even Jesus, the Son of God, served his disciples and set us an example of service (John 13:12-17).

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

4 thoughts on “The First Must Be Last; the Servant of All – Mark 9:35”

  1. What I got from reading the verse and your comment is that greatness is equal to service in the kingdom of God . Therefore as children of God we should intentionally understand that when we serve others we are great in the kingdom . And above all we can only do service in the strength of the holyspirit.

    • I believe you are correct. Although I might add that we need to guard against pride in our service. We do not serve to become great. We serve because we are following the example of Jesus.


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