Christ’s Disciples = Teachable Servants

This text is totally focused on what those who are Disciples of Christ are to do. How they should think, feel & act. Twice in this passage Jesus The Christ asks believers, What do you want Me to do for you? 1st He asks that question to 2 of His 12 chosen Disciples, 2 of the Big 3. Then He asks that question to one of the least of believers, the last guy you would think understands who Jesus is, a blind beggar.

That Jesus asks those in top leadership & someone at the bottom of the food chain the same question means HE is asking it of all HE would choose to follow Him. All those who believe HE is The Son of David, The Christ, The Son of God, The Messiah.

He has asked the same sort of question throughout the Gospel of Mark as well as the other Gospels. It stands to reason that He will ask His Disciples this question all the time. What do you want Jesus to do for you? Entertain you? Give you self-esteem? Provide ethics & morality? Give you status? Heal you physically or emotionally? Enhance your career? Enhance a relationship?


Or are you looking for something that doesn’t involve your wants and desires? As bible based disciples of our Lord & Master Jesus Christ we have agreed to ‘Die to Ourselves’ to ‘Be the servant of all’ to ‘Give up our lives for Him’. For those who have done these things, in this passage Jesus is going to once again stress a couple of very significant aspects of being His Disciple. He has taught about these things before and will again: Servanthood & Teachability. That these two stories are together in the text means these two need to be combined in the life of Christ’s Disciples. We are all called to be taught by Christ how to be a servant and how to be a continuing student.

TODAY: Jesus of Nazareth is preparing His Twelve Disciples, soon to be Apostles. He knows His time short, in this narrative we are mere weeks from the Cross. He is going to take the time to intimately teach the twelve as well as give a public lesson.

10:32-52 [NASB 1995]

32 They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful.

  • The Disciples were in awe that Jesus was going to Jerusalem
  • At this point the twelve pretty much understanding who HE really is: GOD
  • Those who followed is the ‘hangers-on’ surrounding Jesus [text separates]
  • That word translated as ‘fearful’ contains dread, apprehension and alarm
  • Mark uses this word only 3 times. They all describe ‘fear of the unknown’
  • They don’t get who He is so they are afraid of His going to Jerusalem
  • His Disciples, who are ‘walking’ with The Christ are not fearful but are in awe!

And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, 33 saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34 They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”

  • He is doing more and more intense teaching just for the Disciples
  • He has spoken in generalities about His fate but here He gets more specific
  • He has been preparing them to comprehend what He is doing
  • These are the exact chain of events as they will unfold

So put yourself in the Disciples shoes, how do you react to this?

35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”

  • As a reaction to what Jesus tells them, some start thinking of their ‘Position’
  • Last time Jesus told them He was going to be killed they reacted the same way
  • Jesus asks: What do you want Me to do for you?
  • The ‘Sons of Thunder’ want the ‘Position’ of most honor [next to the King]
  • They are recognizing His coming glory but don’t understand how He gets there

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him. They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. ~ Mark 9:31-34

38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.”

  • Jesus says; ‘Do you realize how I am going to get to Glory?’
  • To ‘drink the cup’ is to receive consequences or be put in a situation
  • To ‘Be Baptized’ is literally ‘to be immersed in’ / totally involved in something
  • He had just described the situation and consequences He would be a part of
  • Christ asks if they are able to take on what He is going to live through
  • They tell Him; ‘Yep! We are all in! [Commitment to Christ’s Discipleship]

And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

  • They say they are all in…Jesus says they will share in what He will go through
  • James is beheaded about 11years after Christ’s resurrection
  • Tradition holds that they tried to kill John twice and eventually exiled him
  • James & John did suffered for God and others, just like their Master
  • But the top two spots, Jesus said, were not His to assign (who might they be?)

41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.”

  • The other Disciples are like: ‘Who do you two think you are?’
  • So Jesus gets their attention and teaches them a lesson He has taught before
  • He starts with how this world works: power & authority are oppressive
  • Sin corrupts all power structures in our world…even the Church

43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

  • ‘Among You’ Among Christ’s true Disciples; Spirit Indwelt Followers
  • Within this group power will work differently based on Christ’s example
  • The positions of power among Christ’s Disciples will be occupied by ‘Servants’
  • Leaders in Christ’s Body don’t exercise authority, they give their lives away
  • They are not driven by status and power but by humility and servitude

46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

  • Jericho is about 25 miles from Jerusalem
  • Jesus is traveling with a large group
  • This blind beggar calls Jesus ‘The Messiah’ [Son of David]
  • He asks for mercy… [Good Request]
  • He is told to be quiet…same sort of attitude Jesus’ followers had about kids!
  • The implication was that He was too important to spend time with this guy

49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

  • Jesus is totally assessable, approachable and willing to connect with anyone
  • Truth is He is too important for ANYBODY!
  • We are all equally undeserving of Christ’s attention yet all have equal access!
  • People who know exactly who Jesus, they know He is willing and able to help
  • Constant theme of the Gospel of Mark: ‘Faith of Others’ / Communal Faith
  • Bartimaeus jumps at his chance for an audience with Jesus & the question

And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

  • Son of David was an impersonal title, Rabboni means My Mentor / My Example
  • He not only recognizes Jesus as the Christ, but also as his Personal Discipler
  • Not only recognizing Jesus as God; but as his instructor on all things
  • Bartimaeus is an example of faith being expressed in discipleship for us
  • He believes Jesus as the Messiah, is to be his example, mentor and teacher
  • With Christ: Faith that is lived out in humble teachability… brings healing
  • He is healed, but this is just the beginning: Bartimaeus BEGAN to follow HIM

Takeaways 4 Disciples:

Don’t pursue status or position but rather embrace suffering and rejection.

  • Jesus Foretells His sacrificial death a 3rd time, and again His Disciples start thinking of power positions, status and authority
  • Jesus asks them: “What do you want ME to do for you?” and they answer from sinful self absorption
  • They don’t have the Holy Spirit indwelling them yet so they can do nothing other than react in their ‘flesh’

Become a servant for the reasons Jesus did: God and others.

  • Jesus’ Disciples share in the rejection and suffering that comes from living for God by HIS power
  • It is not going top be a desirable life based on this world’s standards
  • Christ’s standard for His followers regarding leadership, stature and power will be Servanthood not Oppression
  • When faced with the reality of Christ’s sacrifice we are not to focus on fulfilling our selfish desires and lusts.
  • Instead we are to put God and everyone else first: SERVANTHOOD

Place yourself under Christ’s ‘Lordship Mentoring’ and remain teachable.

  • Bartimaeus places himself under Jesus’ ‘Lordship Mentoring’ = Biblical Discipleship
  • He wants healing in his life so He can Follow Jesus, not fulfill his own desires

Be willing to be taught a repeat lesson by Jesus without getting complacent.

  • These are similar teachings to what we have seen previously in the Gospel of Mark. Why the repetition?
  • Repetition is important…Deuteronomy means: ‘The Second Telling of The Law’
  • WE NEED REPETITION! Repeated teaching and repeated practice! Following Jesus is the most important stuff we will do in this life!


Do you want Christ to teach you how to walk with Him and be like Him?

  • For this to happen must embrace being taught the same things over and over again
  • It is a long way to get from you to Jesus.
  • In this scripture, Christ is showing us how we are to be taught by HIM.
  • [Principle, Application, Repetition]

Do you want Christ to teach you how to be a servant and not a boss?

  • What we need to learn most from Christ is humility
  • Jesus teaches us humility by humbling us.
  • The world will teach us how to be full of ourselves.
  • Not just different than the world, opposite the world [last is first, first is last]

Do you want Christ to teach you how to give away your life for others?

  • You and I need to change ALOT to do this. Sanctification takes time
  • A life of Christ’s Discipleship is a life of being a servant and being teachable
  • Recognize you need more lessons & more practice living for God and others.
  • The bar is high: transformation into the image of Christ!

If we don’t get caught up in ourselves, or in status or in what popular culture thinks of us… we will grow in Christlikeness: Thinking, Feeling and Acting like Jesus The Christ / OUR LORD!