“But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 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.” —Mark 9:35
A desire to have preeminence among the brethren certainly misses the mark of the kingdom of heaven. Preeminence among the brethren is never a character trait abiding in the hearts of the saints in Christ.
The Twelve disputed among themselves about greatness and the Lord rebuked them. This desire for greatness did not end with the Lord’s rebuke, however. The desire for superiority among the brethren still crept into the early church as Diotrephes was one “who loveth to have the preeminence among them” (3 John 1:9).
Today, in American Christianity, however, it has come to the point that greatness and preeminence among the brethren has not crept into the 21st century American church, but has rather walked in freely and arrogantly.
True greatness in the kingdom of heaven is service to all; and the essence of service to all is service to Jesus Christ; and the very heart of service to Jesus Christ is a grace that comes from that blessed truth that Jesus Christ “is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Jesus Christ, alone, is, was, and always will be preeminent.
Unless we are brought daily to the truth of Christ and Him crucified, unless we are kept, by God’s grace, abiding in the truth of who Christ is and what He has done, we will be as prone to covet preeminence as Diotrephes.
This devotional from Mark 9:30-35 was delivered at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church for Wednesday evening prayer meeting. Click the arrow below to listen to the 13-1/2 minute message: