Introduction: Welcome to Calvary Albuquerque. We pursue the God who is passionately pursuing a lost world; we do this with one another, through worship, by the Word, to the world.
Jesse Lusko: Well, tonight I want to talk with you about two concepts. I want to talk to you about leadership and greatness, leadership and greatness. You see, Jesus says that a true leader is a servant, and that somebody who's really great, they sacrifice. But that's not really what we associate when we think about leadership. We don't really think of service, originally. I mean, the guy who, like, brings you your pizookie at BJ's---like, those things are delicious, by the way---you don't really think of him being great and prestigious, you know. It's just he just kind of brings you your food. But that's exactly what Jesus says. He says that if you want true significance, sometimes you have to do what seems insignificant.
Now, greatness is something that you see a lot throughout history. There's been no less than 142 leaders down through the ages who've claimed the name "the great." And oh there's Herod the Great, there's Alexander the Great. There was that man who kind of had "short man" complex. He felt like he had to compensate for something. He liked to keep his hand in his vest---Napoleon the Great. My personal favorite is some guy who actually took the name, not just "the great," but "the greatest," the greatest there ever was. I'm talking about "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee," Muhammad Ali. "I'm so great. I don't just take 'em down, I call the round. Ooh, I must take him down in eight to prove that I am great. If he keeps talking jive, I'll cut him down in five." Right? [laughter]
He actually said this, he said, "I am so great my only fault is I don't know how great I am. I'm so great, I come out without a scrape." That's Muhammad Ali. You know, those figures from history aren't the only ones who desire greatness. I think being made in the image of God, each one of us longs to make a mark. We want our lives to matter. We want to look back and see that we counted for something. I mean, you don't really hear kids in their kindergarten class---you say, "What do you want to be when you grow up, little Billy?" He says, "Well, I want to float lethargically downstream like a dead animal carcass. I want nobody to know that I ever even existed." No. Nobody wants that. We long for greatness, and that's not necessarily a bad desire.
But in this text in Mark, you know, the definition of greatness gets changed for these apostles. See, the mind-set of the Messiah, their thoughts towards him was that he would come and he would conquer the Romans, that he'd crush them with a rod of iron. But the truth was Jesus wasn't going to crush the Romans; he was going to be crushed at the hands of the Romans. He didn't come this first time to rule and to reign, but to suffer and save; not to conquer and kill, but to deliver and die. And if the greatest life ever lived was spent serving, well, we'd be wise to live our lives like his. See, I believe that if we put these principles into practice, it will change our relationship to our children. It'll change our marriages. It'll change the way we go to work. It'll really change everything.
Father, I pray that you would speak through your Word. We've come. We've sung your praises. We've just celebrated who you are. We've kind of shooken our souls maybe out of some sleep, and we've been invigorated with fresh faith. And I just pray now that as your Word goes out that lives would never be the same. We say that in Jesus' name, amen. So look with me in Mark chapter 10 verse 32. "Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going up before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed him they were afraid. Then he took the twelve aside and began to tell them the things that would happen to him." See, Jesus is going towards his eminent death. The cross casts its shadow across these pages.
And it actually tells us in Luke that "He set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem," that he went there with this steely resolve. He was determined to lay down his life. You know, there's two different kinds of courage. And courage is something we kind of see as synonymous with greatness, for the most part. And there's the kind of courage where you just take a bullet. You know, it's just that split-second, reflexive instinct, just brave. But there's a second sort of courage, and that's the kind of courage when the danger is afar off, but you just keep marching on. And that's the kind of courage we see in Christ, that he just kept on going. The Expanded Bible says he wasn't just going ahead of them, it says, "He was leading the way." You see, Jesus is leading from the front and there are so many leaders who lead from the back.
I mean, we can think of people who make decisions that affect the factory floor, but they do it from the comfort of the conference room. Right? They make these---you know send troops off to battle when there's no risk or danger in it for them personally. And abuses of authority can just be traced pretty much anywhere you look. Any echelon of power, you're going to see its abuse. I mean, you give, like, a kid an orange vest and a whistle, and he will run that hall like it is the Third Reich, like, crazy. Everybody say "power trip," right? Now, but on a more serious note, there's abusive parents, there's violent and neglectful husbands, there's cruel teachers, horrible bosses, corrupt cops, partial judges, scheming CEOs, all the way right up to dictators, despots, and tyrants.
Now this is a passage on leadership. And you may not fancy yourself a leader. You may not think that you are a very important person. But I wanted to tell you tonight that you have more influence than you think you do, because the choices that you make don't just affect you, they affect those around you. And whether you're a manager or maybe you're a parent or you're a spouse or you're a boss, or maybe not, each one of us is leading a life. And you can look at the life you're leading today and see what kind of leader you would make one day. Because it's not like when you get into some kind of position, you get some kind of badge, or a parking space at work, you get that promotion, and you're all of a sudden a manager, a boss---the integrity you have right now will be the exact same then.
It'll just be more exaggerated. It'll just be more of a budget to fund your abuse if you are that sort of person. So, if you were a leader, if you did get that promotion, if you had some children, if you got married, or maybe you went on, you became a pastor, a ministry leader, or maybe even a politician, what sort of leader would you make? I mean, we know what it feels like to have the dread when the boss walks in the room, don't we? We know what it's like to have that teacher that-that-that you just---your stomach's in knots if you---as you approach their classroom. When you receive that email in your inbox and you clench your teeth, we all know what that's like. Well, some of us live our lives as tiny tyrants, and if we ever get exalted, that's precisely what we'll be.
But this text has the power to change all that. First thing we're going to say is that true leadership takes empathy. True leadership takes empathy. Verse 33---actually, I apologize. Well, actually look at 32 one more time. So notice how it says in this text as Jesus was going ahead of them leading from the front that "they were amazed. And many of them that followed him were afraid. Then he took the twelve aside and again and began to tell them the things that would happen: 'And look, we're going up to Jerusalem, the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes; and they will condemn him to death, delivered him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and scourge him, and spit on him, and kill him. And on the third day he will rise again.' "
There are all sorts of bosses who are completely oblivious to the affairs of those who are beneath them. I mean, they make decisions, but they take no consideration of-of how those who are their subordinates are going to feel. They just---they either just aren't even aware of it or maybe they just don't care at all. But those people don't understand, you can't run a tight ship on low morale. You can't run a tight ship on low morale. And the most effective workers are the sorts of workers who feel loved and cared for, the people who look forward to work. Now, as Jesus is boldly marching towards his death, his followers are amazed and afraid. You see, in-in---that's what a true leader notices. He notices that about his people. He's empathetic. You feel what your people feel.
And Jesus wasn't so busy leading from the front that he ignored what was happening with those lagging behind him. He knew what they were going through, and so Jesus took time to kind of have a pit stop, pull over---errrt!---to the side of the road, have a little pep talk with his boys, and prepare them for what was going to rock their world. And this is actually the third time Jesus does this. Okay, this is the third time he's predicted his death and resurrection. He's telling them what's going to happen. In---that's being proactive. I've had to learn in my marriage that I can't just be reactive and react the right way, but I need to be proactive, to, you know, if I'm going to have a busy week at work, I tell my wife about it. I kind of warn her ahead of time. Took me a long time to learn that, all right?
Took me a long while---communi---what we have here is a failure to communicate, right? [laughter] But true leaders prepare their people. So Jesus, he tells them this. Let's see how they react. It says, "Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him, saying"---and this is just hilarious---" 'Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask.' " It's just a great thing. It's just amazing. I mean, think about this timing. He just told them that he's going to go to Jerusalem, he's going to be betrayed, spat upon. He's going to be scourged. The flesh will be ripped off his back. Spikes will be driven into his hands. And then he'll rise again. And then their reaction is this. It'd be like me telling, like, "You know, I went to the doctor---I only have six months left to live." And you respond by going, "When you're gone, can I have all your stuff?" [laughter]
It's like, "Oh my gosh, guys. You got some chutzpah asking a question like this. This is crazy." You know, and what they wanted was they still had that other idea of the Messiah, the whole "conquer and kill" bit. And what they want is they want the corner office next to the boss. They're like, "Jesus, if you're POTUS, we both want to be VIP. Like, that's what we're going for." You know, "I'm so fancy, you don't even know." Like, they just want to be living large, popping bottles, sitting back, taking it easy from Dubai to Shanghai. "Take a close look, 'cause we rule, baby." [laughter] That's their mind-set. And Matthew makes it even more hilarious, because Matthew tells us they knew that it was a bad idea, so they actually got their mom to do it. You know, and one of those good Jewish moms.
She's like, "My boys, Jesus, they're good boys. Just give them what they want," you know. And Jesus doesn't even address the mom. He just, like---he just, like, hears her and looks over at James and John, and you know, goes off. It's fantastic. Well, you know something else about Jesus, and really about any true leader who's following Jesus' footsteps, is that a true leader isn't just empathetic, he's patient. He's patient. Four times in the previous two chapters Jesus has taught them humility, but here in this text he's willing to do it that fifth time. He's willing to do it that fifth time. He's patient with them. And he'll be just as patient and persistent with you. I'm kind of one of those, like, thickheaded people, right, slow learner, but Jesus, he's patient. He'll be patient with you. And next thing we'll say is that true leadership isn't arbitrary.
True leadership isn't arbitrary. "Jesus says, 'You don't know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' And they said to him, 'We're able.' So Jesus said to them, 'You will in drink the cup---you-you will indeed drink the cup that I'm drinking, and be baptized with the baptism I'm baptized with; but to sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, but it's for those for whom it was prepared.' " Now arbitrary power is something in civics or in politics where-where there's this kind of power that's just unrestricted, unlimited, uncontrolled, despotic, tyrannical. It's not earned; it's seized, it's undeserved, and unrestricted. And that's kind of what these guys have in mind. But he tells them, "You don't know what you're asking. You did not read the fine print on the application, boys." Like, "You don't know what you're in for."
He says, "Can you really handle this? Can you drink the cup that's for me? I don't know if you'd really be interested if you knew what was going on." And this little "cup" thing goes back to the Old Testament. All throughout the Bible anytime there's judgment or pain and suffering it's depicted as "the cup," often times the cup of the fierceness of the wrath of God. Jesus was going to drink this both physically and spiritually. But he's warning them that if you really want that crown, you're going to have to endure a cross. So he says, "Are you able?" It's like, "Can you drink it?" "Yes, we can!" Sorry, I have a one-year-old. Bob the Builder is invading my message one little line at a time. But these guys, they're confident. They're like, "Yeah! We are able, Jesus. We can do it!"
And they've got ambition, and that ambition isn't all bad. You see, the problem here is not their desire for greatness; their problem is their definition of greatness. You know, God wants you to do great things. He wants you to live a life of greatness. But we need to see what real greatness really is. There is no throne without troubles and trials. There's no crown without a cross. Now, don't be confused here, because this does not mean salvation by works. No, not at all. You see, admission into the kingdom comes simply by faith in Christ. Admission into the kingdom comes simply by faith in Christ, but position in the kingdom comes by faithfulness to Christ. You could say it like this: Jesus has afforded you some real estate in heaven. It's never going to be repossessed. It's never going to be foreclosed on.
There's nothing you can do to add to it. It's yours. But what you build on it, that's up to you. And each and every day of our Christian lives, brick by brick we are building a home that we will live in for eternity. You could say it another way: If you want to be a citizen in heaven, just put your faith in Christ; but if you want to be a champion in heaven, that faith better put you to work. So that's-that's the truth and we should lay hold of that. You know, God wants us to have motivation without condemnation, and we should feel motivated. But Jesus, he didn't believe in arbitrary power. It's not going to be just seized and taken; it's going to be deserved. It's going to be given to the one who prepares for it and for whom it is prepared. He's kind of saying, "You know, you want in on the glory, but are you sure you're up for the agony?"
And that's going to happen for James and John. James is going to have his head chopped off in the book of Acts, the first apostle to die. John's going to be the last one and he's going to be boiled in a vat of oil. And some church traditions say he survived that, but nonetheless, he suffered immense things for the cause of Christ. See, what Jesus is telling us, he's saying this: "If you want to be the greatest in heaven, you need to do something that's actually great. If you want the glory, you need to live a life that looks like mine, that is actually glorious." Look with me in verse 41. "And then the ten heard it, and they began to be greatly displeased with James and John." You know, James and John have this classic mentality. It's like, "Let's get there before all the selfish people do." [laughter] It's their thought.
And the ten hear about it and they're like, "Oh, I see. H'm, think you're better than us, do you? Could we offer you some cucumber water, perhaps a Perrier, your highness?" You know, they just are outraged at the prospect of this. And it wasn't just James and John who had the whole wrong mentality about the Messiah, it was the whole gang. And I think the same problem can be there for you and I, because some of us think that Jesus died for us so we could just feel good. Some of us feel like, you know, God just takes away our guilt, and we kick it up, take it easy, have the white picket fence. We think that there should be a life with no bad things. Nothing bad happens because nothing really happens at all. And that's the way some of us, unfortunately, regrettably, we live our lives that way.
But Jesus didn't come so we could just memorize a couple verses. He didn't come so we could just sing a couple songs and get old and get fat and roll over into eternity. Jesus came so we could live life more abundantly. He didn't come so we could live easy lives; he came so we could live extraordinary lives. God doesn't want the most exciting part of your week---given the fact that there's a new episode to your favorite TV show---he wants something bigger than that. He wants something better than that. He wants us to live these lives that are truly glorious. You see, if your Christian life was a biography, ask yourself this: Would anybody want to read it? If you're Christian life was a biography, would anybody want to read it? You see, the gospel story is meant to empower us to live a story for his glory.
How about tomorrow we go write something more interesting. How about tomorrow we wake up, we say, "You know what? Let's do something for the kingdom. Let's take some names. Let's make some headlines in heaven." Now there was the movie The Sandlot, and it's-it's a funny movie, classic. I watched it recently. And there's this one scene where this kid is really smart, and doesn't have a lot of friends, in his room with, like, Tinkertoys, playing around. And his mom comes in and says, "And when are you going to get out and make some friends?" It's like, "I know you're smart. I'm proud of you, but-but I don't want you in here all summer fiddling with this stuff. Go get some fresh air. Climb some trees. Hop some fences. Scrape your knees. Get dirty. Get into some trouble, for crying out loud."
And I think the Lord kind of looks at us that way sometimes. He says, "Why don't you get out there---feed the poor, help the hungry, go get into some trouble for the gospel. Do something worth talking about." I think---[applause] Yeah. I think that's how the Lord looks at us sometimes. You know, God wants you to reach your full potential for his highest praise. That's what he wants you to do, that you'd just give it all you got for his glory. Next thing we'll say is that true leadership is costly. True leadership is costly. "But Jesus called them to himself and he said to them, 'You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great should be your servant.
And whoever desires to be first shall be the slave of all.' " Now, he mentions here the way Roman dictators were, the way those tyrants, those emperors were. And I actually read about one emperor named Emperor Galba, all right? And on the day becoming emperor he gave a speech. It was a very short speech. He said this: "Now that I'm emperor I get to do anything I want to anyone I want." Imagine that as, like, an inauguration address, right? It's like, "Now that I'm emperor I can do anything I want to anyone I want." That's actually history, but the spirit of Emperor Galba is alive and well today. I read an article in the Washingtonian and it said that one out of three people who quit their job, quit their job because they hate their boss. They have a bad boss.
One out of three people who quit their job, quit their job because they have a bad boss. And so they actually did a poll where they asked people to write in stories about their awful bosses, and you'd just be appalled at reading some of these stories. Okay, one story a CEO sent out an email terminating his staff, okay, by email, mind you. He sent it out on Christmas Day. Oh my, this is the spirit of Scrooge is here with us. Read another that said, "My old boss would walk around with a small baseball bat and a switchblade. He kept pictures of the employees he'd fired pinned up in his office." This was my favorite: "Anyone who came into a meeting late had to stand in the corner for the entire time. [laughter] Anyone who said anything particularly stupid would have to stand atop their chair or on the table."
Corporal punishment in the conference room. [laughter] Now, the J. B. Phillips translation refers to these rulers as "so-called rulers," so-called rulers. These are not true leaders. These are not true rulers or---these are-these are just an imitation of it. And the Lord does call us to submit. You know, I mean, if-if Paul could write to us and say that we should submit to Emperor Nero---you know, the guy who was just a complete psychopath, pervert, just so evil---then we can really submit to anyone that God puts over us. And I think sometimes God puts a Saul in our lives because he wants to make us into a David. I think that's what happens sometimes. And so we can submit to even the worst leadership to the glory of God. But here he says that they "lord it over them." That means you use your power against someone.
You rule to your own advantage, you subjugate, subdue. You put people in a submission hold. You hold them in power underneath you. And we know what this is like. This is the big brother, the boss, the teacher, could be (regrettably) a parent, it could even be a pastor, who just constantly makes you aware of the hierarchy. Oh, you know you don't get paid as much as them. You know they're more powerful than you. You know that they're bigger than you. Because if you forget it, they will remind you. That's the kind of leader that Jesus is describing. That person who kind of shows you who's boss. They demean everyone. They belittle everyone. You know that they are the biggest dog on the block. Now he also says they "exercise authority." And that means they wield their power. They demand their rights.
They feel they have rights as the ruler and they make sure they get it. They extract it out of everyone. Now, Jesus tells us---and the Greek is actually emphatic the way it's constructed as in a way that's very clear. Jesus says, "Not so among you." It's not going to fly that way. But if you want to be great, you be the servant. If you want to be first, you make yourself the slave of all. If you want to be truly significant, sometimes you have to do what seems insignificant. Now I read a story about a doctor in the fifties. His name was Julius Hickerson, and he went to medical school, and he was at the top of his class. And everybody thought he was going to go on to do such great things. But he felt a call in his life, like God had called him to go to Columbia.
And everybody said, "Don't go to Columbia. Don't go be missionary. That's a waste of your life. You could make so much money here in the states." But Julius went anyways. And he went there, and he would take medicine to villages, and he learned the language, and he'd preach the gospel. And after two long years of doing this, he hadn't seen a single convert. Nobody. And one day, packed up some medicine and got into a plane and his plane crashed and he died. And everybody who knew him said, "What a waste. What a life wasted." But a little while longer the missionary group, the missionary organization that had sent him sent another missionary. And they found people in the village worshiping Jesus, praising God. These people were Christians. And the guy couldn't understand.
He said, "How-how is the possible? How could you guys---he didn't have any converts." And they said, "Well, we were scouring the wreckage of that plane looking for food or anything in possessions, and we found that Bible translated in our language." And the missionary grabbed it and said, "Let me see that." And he found Julius Hickerson's name in it. You see, no life ever spent for Christ is ever wasted. And sometimes you gotta do what seems insignificant to be truly significant. See, Jesus says if you want first in a rank, you be the slave of all. And this is paradoxical. This is counterintuitive. It's like when Jesus said, you know, "Happy are the sad." You know, "Blessed are those who mourn. Rich are the people who are poor in spirit." It's like when he says, "If you want to be exalted, you gotta humble yourself."
You want to go up, you gotta go down. It seems so counterintuitive. But I read part of a book by a man named Simon Sinek. And he has one the most viewed TED Talks of all time. And he wrote another book different from the TED Talk, and in it he interviewed the lieutenant general of the Marine Corps, this guy named George Flynn. And he interviewed him and he asked him this: "Why are the Marines the most elite fighting force in the world? Why are they---have such a reputation for being so closely knit, so united, so effective?" And Lieutenant George Flynn responded rapidly, he said, "Officers eat last." And Simon Sinek was---he was taken back. It's like, "Officers eat last"? He said, "Yeah. The cadets eat first, the recruits eat first, and officers are the very last to ones to eat."
Well, I was actually hanging out with a marine a little while ago, and I was like, I can't---I don't know if I can believe this. This is crazy. So I was hanging out with this-this guy. He's out of the Marines now and I asked him about this. He said, "Yeah that is true. And not only is that true, most of the time the generals would be the ones serving us food." You see, the things in the Bible aren't just true 'cause they're in the Bible; they're in the Bible because they're true. And when you're this kind of a leader, when you serve your people, people will want to follow you. You're children, your kids will want to follow you. They'll actually desire, you know, to-to do the things that you say, because you have their best interest in mind. Your coworkers, your employees.
And I can say that this is true because my father, he's exemplified this type of leadership. As long as I can remember my dad has never been, like, oppressive. He's never raised his voice. He just lovingly, gently, corrected, disciplined, guided. And-and there's just tremendous---we have tremendous loyalty to him because of that. You know, Simon Sinek's book made me laugh, because that guy's not a Christian at all. And in it he says things like this, he says, "True leaders lay down their lives for their people." I'm like, oh, kind of like the Good Shepherd. He's like, you know, "We have a responsibility as leaders to make people feel the way we'd want to feel." Like, oh, kind of like Jesus said, um-hmm. And it's like---you know, that guy's plagiarizing left and right or something. His ideas aren't original at all.
You know, the Bible says that the husband is the head of the wife. And what if-what if we applied Mark 10 to your marriages? What if we thought about it that way? You know, when I proposed to my wife, first thing I did after she said "Yes"---and I decked it out with candles. It was awesome. It was super cool. All romantic and stuff. But after she said "Yes," I-I washed her feet, right? You know, it was pretty amazing. It was emotional. And that's a powerful symbol. But it's one thing to start humble, it's another thing to stay humble. You see, that daily dying is a whole different story. Biblical authority isn't about power, it's about responsibility. Biblical authority isn't about power, it's about responsibility. I told you this was a message on leadership and a message on greatness.
To be a leader means to look out for those around you. To be great means to do to most good for the most people with the right motives. That's what it means to be great. That's what Jesus is telling us. Now there was this guy who received Christ one time and I was talking with him. And he had really grown up, like, tough life, like, super gangster. Just kind of like, you know, rolling like a cholo or something. I don't know, that's kind of how he just, like, was. And I was talking to him about Jesus, like---and how he was crucified and beaten. And the guy just, like, could not understand this. He's like, "We're supposed to worship this guy?" He's like, "No, man. The, like, big dude is the biggest guy on the block. Nobody messes with the big guy. They just don't get beat up, like, they give the beatings."
You know, he just could not comprehend this thought. But I told him this: "Being strong doesn't mean you take nothing from nobody; being strong means you're so strong you take care of everybody." You see, truly great people don't sit atop the backs of weaker people; they carry weaker people on their backs. See, greatness isn't measured by the amount of people who serve you; greatness is measured by the amount of people that you serve. Real leadership isn't exploitative; it's exhortative. True greatness isn't getting what you want out of people; it's giving them what they need. It's not about beating people down; it's about building them up. See, a true leader doesn't bleed his people; he bleeds for his people. [applause]
So we're going to take---turn a little corner and we're going to say, "How can we actually apply this? How can we make this real in our lives?: Based on what Jesus described, even if you have no letters after your name, even if you have no parking place at work, even if you don't fancy yourself a person of influence, look at the life you are leading and you can discover what it would be like if you were in charge. Right now the life you're leading, are you living like a true leader, or a tiny tyrant? Are you living a life that's selfish, or a life that's sacrificial? Are you living to your own advantage, or to the advantage and good of others? See, you can decide to be a leader by looking out for those around you. You can decide to be great by doing good for as many people as possible.
You can change your thought and you can change the way you live. And one way you could do this, it's really simple, is think before you send that email. Think about the way you feel when you receive those kinds of emails, when you send that out at work and to your coworker. And maybe you're not boss, but you walk around like you are. If anybody gets in your way, they're going to know it. Change your heart. Change your attitude. You know, have a good attitude. And maybe you work at a place where you're just like, you know, in sales or something, and change your attitude the way you help people. I mean, you walk into some places and it's like, "I am so sorry that I came here to give you my money. I will make sure that never happens again."
You feel that way, but-but if you just have a good attitude when you serve people, it'll be a game changer. You won't have a whole a lot of competition. Man, you'll been like Joseph and you can't keep God's man down. You'll get promoted, like, so fast, unbelievably fast and you can do it to the glory of God. What about joining a Connect Group? Maybe you could join a Connect Group and you guys could scheme and plot together to do good in this community. You guys could come together and you could just think---yeah, you could put your hands together for that. [applause] You could think of ways to serve, just think of ways to take over this place. You know, just go crazy to the glory of God. You could look to meet the needs of those around you.
You could, you know, rather than just washing your feet of your mate once, look for ways to do it every day. You know, just clean the dishes, just do the most practical, simple things. What about taking a risk and spreading the gospel? Just open up your mouth tomorrow, tell somebody. Invite somebody to Jesus Loves People this weekend. Hooph---what a rush that would be. Our days would be a whole lot less dull and boring. You know, the choice to live a meaningless life is made by a million decisions to take the path of least resistance. The decision to make a---to live a meaningless life is made by a million choices to take the path of least resistance. You got to decide moment by moment that you want to make your life matter. But let's look at the last verse. It's actually the most important verse in Mark.
Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom." I told you there's been 142 different historical figures who took the name "the great," but I think there's one who actually kind of adds up to all the fanfare. There was a king in Russia by the name of Peter the Great. And Peter the Great noticed that all the civilizations, you know, around him were really advancing and they were building those massive fleets and these huge navies, and Russia had no navy. So what did Peter the Great do? Peter the Great left his throne, left his palace, and he went to Holland and he learned how to build ships himself. And he, being the king, came back to his kingdom and trained people and worked alongside his people and built a massive, massive navy.
You see, a real king meets the needs of his people. And what Mark 10:45 is telling us is that Jesus met your greatest need. See, he came not to be served, but to serve, to give his life as a ransom. And this is mind blowing when you know what the word "Son of Man" means. "Son of Man" actually comes from Daniel 7. It's a divine title of the person who's going to rule over the entire earth, okay? But he says that "[He] came not to be served, but to serve, to give his life as a ransom." Now the Greek word for "ransom" could be the price that's paid for a prisoner of war; it can be the price that's paid for a slave to be set free; it's the price that is paid for a condemned criminal. The Bible says that sin is treason. And you and I, we were prisoners of a war against God.
We were slaves of sin, condemned criminals, headed for hell, but Jesus took the death penalty that was on us and it was placed upon him. You see, Jesus is our Judge and our Defender. He paid our debt. He offered up the price, so that you and I could be set free. Jesus was forsaken, so you and I could be forgiven. He was condemned, so you could be justified. He was accursed, so that you and I could be blessed. Jesus was rejected, so you and I could freely be accepted into the arms of a God of grace and a God of justice. When we were weak, he was strong, and that's true leadership. [cheers and applause] You know, I've talked to some skeptics before and they've told me this. They've actually said that God is a dictator, that God's this tyrant. He's the Kim Jong Un in the clouds.
That he wants to control all your thoughts. He wants to control everything you do. He just wants to own your whole life. Let me ask you this: How many dictators die for their people? How many tyrants laid down their lives for their enemies? Oh, what's Jesus' totalitarian law? What's his rule? "That if I, your Teacher and Lord, have served you, you also ought to serve one another." His law is that we love one another as he has loved us. Would you pray with me. Father, we come to you and we realize, man, we're not worthy to be accepted, but we're accepted by you. We look at our lives and they're not always this adventure in grace, sometimes they're really boring, really selfish, but you want to change us. You want to take away our heart of stone and give us a living, beating heart.
Lord, I pray that you'd do that in this place. Now if you're a believer here, but you just are looking at your life and you realize, "Man, I've been a jerk of a husband. I've been a horrible boss. I've been a bad parent. I've been a bad friend." You realize you've been living a life that's selfish, not a life of service. Letting Jesus serve you is the best way to learn to serve him. When you own up to the fact that you aren't like him, that's when he makes you like him. So if you've just been on the wrong track, having the wrong definition of greatness, just trying to take it easy when God wants the extraordinary, I just wants you raise your hand up. Just believers, just raise your hand up, say, "I want to live a life of service," just as Christians together. Man, I'm raising my hand, because I'm in the club.
I want to live a life of true greatness. I want to lead a life that really matters. Just raise your hand up saying, "I want to be like Jesus." Father, I pray that you'd change our hearts. You'd make us like your heart. And that we'd see what true greatness looks like, what real abundant life is, that we'd go on an adventure for your glory. Okay, put your hands down. If you're here tonight and maybe you don't know Jesus. Maybe you've never trusted in Christ. You've been religious. You've done a lot of different things. Jesus, he paid the price for you to be free. He laid down his life. He loved you before you were ever even born. Before you did anything to deserve to be accepted, he had already made a way to accept you. The Bible says all you got to do is you just got to admit it.
You just got to admit that you're a sinner, admit that you've been going the wrong way. The Bible says you just got to repent. That sounds fancy, but it just means change your mind. You used to love your sin---start hating your sin. The Bible says you just gotta believe. Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord. Believe that he's done everything that's necessary for you to go to heaven to be with him forever. And not just to get eternal life, but to get this life, because you lived the greatest life following him. If you want that, if you want to be forgiven, if you want to be a new person, if you want a new heart, a new destiny, a fresh start, I just want you to raise your hand up. Half the audience already raised our hand just saying, "Man, we need Jesus. We need to be new."
You're just joining the club. It's just on act of humility. Just raise your hand up. That's awesome. See some hands going up across the room. You're just saying, "I want to go to heaven when I die. I'm not a good person because I've sinned, but I need Jesus to make me live a life of greatness." Just raise your hand up. It's awesome. I see a bunch of hands going up. Well, right where you're sitting, I'm not going to, you know, do anything real crazy, but the Bible just says it so simple. You don't gotta go climb Mount Olympus, you don't have to go do some penance, or get real religious, or get on a karma payment plan---all you got to do is call on the name of the Lord. So if you raised your hand up, I just want you to pray this out loud. You're just saying, "I need help. Jesus save me."
Say: Lord, I confess that I am a sinner. I've gone my own way and that's death. But I believe Jesus died in my place, that he's risen from the dead, that he's able to save me. Make me a new person. I surrender to you, amen. Can we just celebrate what God's doing in this place? So good.
Closing: What binds us together is devotion to worshiping our heavenly Father, dedication to studying his Word, and determination to proclaim our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
For more teachings from Calvary Albuquerque and Skip Heitzig visit calvaryabq.org.