Gospel Leadership (Mark 10:32-45)

(note: an audio version of Sunday’s messages will be available here: Sept 26 2010__Gospel Leadership_Mark 10_32 450_edit  https://growinggodlygenerations.wordpress.com/media/)


Everyone needs a good road trip. I can remember several in my life. One of my most memorable road trips was one I took in search for a college. My friend Jeremy and I were visiting Mercer University in Macon, GA and Carson Newman College in East TN. Our trip down I95 was fast as we headed to Atlanta, GA to stay with a friend of Jeremy’s, his name was Deji. Deji’s family lived in an affluent area of Atlanta. As I pulled into their driveway I noticed a few things about the area – all the houses were big, landscapes were trimmed and the sidewalks & driveways were clean. I remember this because when we left to visit the colleges my car left a huge oil stain on the white coated driveway. To most people this would have been a sign of things to come but to a 22 and 18 year old we thought we knew better.

We went on to visit the 2 schools. Each campus tour was nice and positive. Mercer’s college atmosphere was appealing but the school a bit expensive. CN was intriguing just as well and smaller town feel. The catch for me was that CN was a few thousand dollars more affordable than Mercer.

After the campus tours and advisor meetings and a couple other stops along the way we began our return journey. I had done most of the driving and was a bit tired so I let Jeremy drive. A couple hours into our trip and in the left lane of a 4-lane highway in Atlanta our car slows to more than half speed. In addition, the car engine is making a loud panging noise. Maneuvering over to the right shoulder was a Nascarish feat in itself. As we park along the shoulder we both get out to open the hood – as if we were going to fix the problem and be about our way! After several minutes of careful observation, a few grunts of communication we determined our best bet was to drive the car on the shoulder to the nearest exit and maintenance station.

The local garage performed their diagnostic test and determined engine failure. The technician offered me $50 for my Buick Skylark and I raised it to $150 and the deed was done. Getting back home was a challenge. We couldn’t rent a car because we both were too young, we were too far from home for parents to get us so we did the best thing we could which was purchase 2 Greyhound Bus tickets. It was a long bus ride. When Jeremy’s father met us at the Washington D.C. bus station he smiled and just shook his head.

Everyone needs a good road trip to learn a few lessons about life, relationships and themselves. Jesus took the Disciples on a road trip. He had warned them twice that their journey was leading toward difficulty and death (Mark 8:31, 9:31). This time he begins their journey on the road to Jerusalem and he tells them a third time this hard lesson. Jesus’ intention was not just teaching a crowd but to make disciples – leaders and fishers of men.

Today’s world is in a leadership crisis. You can look across the landscape of politics, business, education, religion and even to our home-life and it is not hard to see that there is a failure of leadership at some level. We live in a fast-paced, complex and unpredictable world where a lack of or insufficient leadership exists it has almost immediate consequences. The 21st century provides unprecedented opportunities for leaders to immediately bring positive or negative impact. Media and technology bring an increasing awareness to issues, even into the inner workings of organization or relational life, that leaders have little time to waste. Leadership is a stewardship highly valued.

Yet, something is missing in society than just a lack of leadership. Our society and world’s greatest need is not just leadership but godly leadership. “The world needs men and women…”[1]

–          who cannot be bought;

–          whose word is their bond;

–          who put character above wealth;

–          who are larger than their vocations  [not abdicating responsibility of morality to be above paygrade]

–          who do not hesitate to share their convictions and make no compromise with wrongdoing

–          who will be as honest in small things as in great things

–          who can say “no” with emphasis while most everyone else says “yes”

–          whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires

–          whose values and priority stand for truth even when it is unpopular.

–          And ultimately who have humility to recognize it is only by God’s grace that any of us can breathe!

Jesus develops these kinds of leaders. In Mark 10 we find 4 leadership truths that we should all develop.

EXAMINE                                                Mark 10: (26-31) 32-45   Gospel: Leadership

Leaders have followers (10:32)

Jesus heads toward Jerusalem and the text says that he was leading the way. Jesus makes deliberate steps and had a complete focus toward his goal. Jesus was a leader on a mission and his disciples followed him because of it. They bought in and embraced Jesus’ life and teaching. On one occasion in the Gospels Jesus asked the Disciples if they wanted to leave and Peter rightly said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

When it comes to leadership, we must remember that leaders are one’s that know where they are headed and have others following along. There’s an Afghan Proverbs saying, “if you’re leading and no one is following you’re just taking a walk”. In other words, leaders have direction and purpose in leading others along the journey. 

ð      For SPBC to be a church maximizing its potential we must pay attention to developing leaders because our ministry is not going to be centered on single individual but body of believers exercising their gifts and passions for kingdom.

ð      If you are in leadership, are you taking a walk accomplishing individual tasks or are others following bc they see the vision and want to participate in the eternal impact?

  • Talk to men and tell them they don’t have to watch their wives serve in church they can lead as they do in their jobs but with a kingdom mindset and legacy.

Leaders challenge comfort zones (10:32-34)

Jerusalem meant different things to the Disciples and to Jesus. The disciples viewed going to Jerusalem as personal gain. In their minds, the Messiah was to bring a physical dominance and military revolt against Rome. In another Gospel the disciples hear Jesus saying they are going to Jerusalem and they say, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume [those that reject your earthly kingship]?” (Luke 9:54) They misunderstood Jesus’ Messiahship and Jerusalem destiny. Jesus’ view of Jerusalem carried less fame for the disciples. Jerusalem meant Jesus’ death by crucifixion (note the language: delivered over, condemned to death, mock, spit, flog, kill).

The disciples – as we – had to learn that the path for following Jesus in discipleship was challenging not consoling; laying down one’s life sacrificially rather than luxury building up one’s life.

ð      Where in your discipleship are you buying the lie of comfort over challenge?

ð      The gospel is about Jesus’ death and by result your death. Where is Jesus telling you to sacrifice and die to self; where is your Jerusalem?

ð      How are you challenging the comfort zones of others to push them (us) towards a greater discipleship?

Leaders clarify expectations (10:35-40)

The Disciples did not understand Jesus’ challenge. Their mindset was often fixed on self-glory rather than God’s glory. They requested Jesus to grant them lofty position in heaven. Jesus’ response challenged them toward deeper discipleship in participating in Jesus’ death – “cup” and “baptism”.[2]

ð      Today’s leaders must be careful to clarify expectations to their followers. There is no easy discipleship. Serving God in ministry is commitment. There will be sacrifice of time and energy. However, rightly understood believers can see that earthly sacrifices fade in comparison to the joy of eternity. In addition, when the body of Christ works together strength to persevere is encouraged.

Paul says “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart… But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our lives.” 2 Cor 4:1, 7-10

Leaders serve radically (10:41-45).

In calling these Disciples towards greater discipleship he teaches them that leadership is not a matter of authority but of service. Those seeking to be a great leader must be humble and serve. Jesus exemplified this through his own life by giving it up for the sake of others.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains along; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:24-25

ð      If you are not a servant leader, please step aside. The Church of Jesus Christ only has humbled sinners who have their pride broken by God’s grace and mercy.

ð      Challenge and ask ministry leaders to consider 1-2 ways to practically serve their volunteers.

  • Write a hand written note of appreciation.
  • Do something fun together. Make moments by investing in your relationships.
  • Take a picture of their active service and publicize it in newsletter.
  • Ask how you can pray specifically for them, then do it.



Ultimately, Jesus is the greatest Leader.  

  • Have you surrendered the direction and purpose of your life to Jesus?
  • Are you a follower or a fake? 


[1] Adapted from Charles Swindoll in his book “Living Above The Level of Mediocrity”, pp.107-108.

[2] In OT a cup is sometimes a symbol of joy and salvation (Pss 16:5; 23:5; 116:13), but more often it is a symbol of the wrath of God (Pss 11:6 [NIV “lot”]; 75:8; Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 25:15–17, 27–28; 49:12; 51:7, etc.)  “cup” and “baptism” signify his coming death. (The NAC Mark, vol 23)

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