Mark 9

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (v. 35)

I suppose, upon having read this chapter, that many have already guessed the verse I have chosen for my text verse. You see, there are many great Truths taught in most of these chapters, but I can only deal with one in these particular writings. Here we have the great truth concerning servitude. You who desire to be leaders, give ear! A leader must first learn to follow. Who knows the heart and mind of a follower better than a leader who has been there himself? The best followers make the best leaders. He must be a follower that is willing to learn. This is a step up from the casual follower, you see, a leader has the drive in him to excel beyond the “norm” of a follower. Some men are followers all their lives, and are content with that. That is ok, perhaps that is their lot in life, but a leader will first learn to follow, then rise above the others, and begin to lead. It is a Bible principle that we gain respect and position by serving, and success is just ahead of us. When we promote our preacher, we rise with him in glory and in influence among men. When we promote our company, wherever we work, we too benefit from it, and rise along with it, in monetary gain often, but in status definitely. The principle holds true in all aspects of life. By the way, jesus first followed His father before he led His children.

This verse is a Bible “paradox”; it is one of several in the New Testament. A paradox is a sentence or phrase that seems to directly contradict itself, such as the verse “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mt. 16:25). To the natural mind, this verse makes no sense, and therefore some can not receive it, because it was not given for them. It may be called “double talk” to the unsaved, but makes perfectly good sense to the redeemed. A great preacher puts it this way, “the way up is down”. Those who serve, often become the masters; those who labor and diligently serve, often become the boss, and will, if that is their goal and it is done according to the Bible. Even as we “lift up” the Son of man, so we shall be lifted up with Him, and by Him. As we exalt our Lord, He promotes us to higher Heavenly realms, and we grow in “wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Lk. 2: 52). More is said in the next chapter about this same subject, where our text verse is repeated.

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