God’s Guiding Word: Discipleship
Mark 10:35–52: James and John, two of Jesus’s disciples, request to sit on either side of Jesus in heaven. When the other disciples get upset at their request, Jesus reminds them all that anyone who wishes to be great must be a servant (verses 43, 44; cf. Mark 9:35). Jesus heals a blind man named Bartimaeus who immediately begins to follow Jesus.
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “there is something we want you to do for us.”
36 “What is it?” Jesus asked them.
37 They answered, “When you sit on your throne in your glorious Kingdom, we want you to let us sit with you, one at your right and one at your left.”
38 Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking for. Can you drink the cup of suffering that I must drink? Can you be baptized in the way I must be baptized?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup I must drink and be baptized in the way I must be baptized. 40 But I do not have the right to choose who will sit at my right and my left. It is God who will give these places to those for whom he has prepared them.”
41 When the other ten disciples heard about it, they became angry with James and John. 42 So Jesus called them all together to him and said, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 43 This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 44 and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”
46 They came to Jericho, and as Jesus was leaving with his disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!”
48 Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man. “Cheer up!” they said. “Get up, he is calling you.”
50 So he threw off his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
“Teacher,” the blind man answered, “I want to see again.”
52 “Go,” Jesus told him, “your faith has made you well.”
At once he was able to see and followed Jesus on the road.
Today’s Key Verse: Mark 10:45
[Jesus said]: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”
What was Jesus’s response to the request of James and John (verses 38–40)? Why do you think the other disciples became angry with James and John? How would you have felt in that situation? What reason does Jesus give for his statement that whoever wishes to become great must be a servant (verse 43)? According to verse 52, what brought about Bartimaeus’s healing? (See also Mark 9:23 from the reading on January 19. You may wish to ponder again the role of faith.)
O God, keep me humble when pride and ambition threaten to lead me astray. Let peace prevail when I quarrel over foolish or vain things. Bless those who already demonstrate a servant’s heart, and create in me a greater willingness to serve others. Amen.
And now, join us in praying for the Hope and Smiles for Children with Cancer ministry in Nicaragua. Merciful God, Nicaragua has only one hospital with a child oncology center. Children with cancer are brought by ambulance from all over the country, and most of them come from poverty-stricken, remote, and inaccessible regions, often lacking essential services such as drinkable water and electricity. The Bible Society is the only spiritual support available to the children at the hospital. We praise you, Lord God, that through the Bible Society’s Hope and Smiles for Children with Cancer ministry, doctors are asking Bible Society teams to minister to children and their families as they cope with a cancer diagnosis. Thanks to the generosity and compassion of Bible-A-Month Partners, the children receive age-appropriate Bibles and devotionals, guidance for prayers, and recreation activities. And we thank you, gracious God, that many parents are being impacted by your Word and placing their trust in you. Amen.
Acts 8:4–25: The Good News is preached in Samaria.