“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and their men of high positions exercise power over them. But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42b-45
A Wikipedia search of those who have acquired the title of “Great” is rather lengthy, with more than 100 monarchs alone listed. Some are familiar like Alexander the Great and some have little known names like Rhodri the Great. The list also includes a rather hefty number of aristocrats and religious figures as well. And of course there are a couple sports figures you may recognize, Muhammad Ali (called “the Greatest”) and Wayne Gretzky (“the Great One”). But what is great? And what constitutes greatness?
Most historical figures received their “title” because they exercised great authority in accomplishing much, whether that be conquest or power or even great philanthropic ventures. It may have been they possessed great abilities over their peers. Whatever the “world” decides is great is not how Jesus measured greatness however.
Like so many of us who seek for greatness (and admit it, we all do!) Jesus’ disciples also fell prey to wanting more power and prestige. Each of the synoptic gospels recounts the experience. Only John (who was one of the parties at the front of the dispute) leaves the scenario off his accounts. Jesus reminds his followers that all the world seeks fame and power over those they’ve put beneath them. Then He tells them something that turned that notion on its head, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all.” Slave to all? Really Jesus?
Jesus doesn’t end the lesson there, however. He goes on to give His own life as the example, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” Certainly the disciples recognized the greatness of Jesus’ teaching. And undoubtedly no one was able to replicate the wonders He performed. Unquestionably, He was the GREATEST in their eyes. Yet He, the Greatest, tells them they must serve others just as He came to serve others.
Can you hear Him, Taylor football community? He is saying “But it must not be like that among you.” He calls you to a greater purpose and a greater glory. Serve one another. Don’t expect the world to applaud you, but do it anyway. Seek His greatness by becoming least. It doesn’t matter if no one seems to recognize what you are doing. Jesus does. And that’s all that matters.