Mark 9:30-41 | Humility and Humiliation

March 14, 2021
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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The following two weeks are a bit interesting because, at first glance, these stories look unrelated. 
But you’ll see several themes that are weaved into this Biblical text. 
Pride, humility, and suffering. 
At this point in Mark’s gospel, Jesus is now on His way to Jerusalem. 
His public ministry is now officially over, and His primary focus is the Disciples. 
On the way, Jesus reminds the Twelve of what’s coming next—rejection, betrayal, death, and a resurrection. (9:30–32). 
The Disciples are so taken back that they fail to hear the gravity of Jesus’ words once again. 
And instead of asking Jesus to explain further, they get their eyes off Jesus and start focusing on themselves.
By focusing on themselves, the inevitable happens…they get into another argument. 
What’s the problem today? Let’s find out!

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Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark 9:30-49 | Humility and Humiliation
March 14, 2021

REVIEW:
Last Sunday, the Holy Spirit of Almighty God taught us about faith, unbelief, and prayer.
Unfortunately, we saw the tragic consequences of what happens when people try to do the Lord’s work in and among themselves and become so busy that they forget to pray.
We also discussed Mark 9:23 at great length…
Mark 9:23— Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes.”

We examined this verse, and we discussed how today’s prosperity preachers pull it from the narrative—take it out of context—and use it as a blanket statement for all who are sick or want to become wealthy.
Some of the key points from last week include:
All things can be done for the one who has faith, but your faith must submit to the will of God.
Submitting your prayer life to God’s will is a part of spiritual maturity.
God wants to teach you how not to pray for yourself, but to pray for the things that He has predetermined for you.
We learn how to do this by praying God’s Word back to him—for example, reading the psalms out loud during your devotional time.

Nobody can create faith in and among themselves!
There is always room for more faith.
People who have true faith are very aware of how deficient it is.
What you do with your imperfect faith is crucial.
Prayer is the action side of faith.

Prayer requires humility. Proud people and proud churches don’t pray.
INTRODUCTION:
And all that set’s us up for today’s narrative.
The following two weeks are a bit interesting because, at first glance, these stories look unrelated.
But you’ll see several themes that are weaved into this Biblical text.
Pride, humility, and suffering.
At this point in Mark’s gospel, Jesus is now on His way to Jerusalem.
His public ministry is now officially over, and His primary focus is the Disciples.
On the way, Jesus reminds the Twelve of what’s coming next—rejection, betrayal, death, and a resurrection. (9:30–32).
The Disciples are so taken back that they fail to hear the gravity of Jesus’ words once again.
And instead of asking Jesus to explain further, they get their eyes off Jesus and start focusing on themselves.
By focusing on themselves, the inevitable happens…they get into another argument.
What’s the problem today? Let’s find out!

**Please stand for the reading/honoring of God’s Word.**

SCRIPTURE: Mark 9:30-49 CSB
Mark 9:30—Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it.
Mark 9:31— For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.”
Mark 9:32—  But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.
Mark 9:33—  They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”
Mark 9:34—  But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest.
Mark 9:35—  Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
Mark 9:36—  He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,

Mark 9:37—  “Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.”
Mark 9:38—  John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
Mark 9:39—  “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me.
Mark 9:40—  For whoever is not against us is for us.
Mark 9:41—  And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ—truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.

**These are the very words from God for us this morning.**

PRAY:

EXEGESIS:
Mark 9:30—Then they left that place and made their way through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know it.
Jesus and the Twelve are leaving the Gentile territory of Caesarea Philippi and headed back down south to their ministry headquarters in Galilee.

Jesus is trying to keep a low profile because his public ministry to the people of Galilee is over.
Jesus has six months left before Calvary, and his main focus is on teaching the Twelve Disciples.
Mark 9:31— For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.”
Luke’s gospel gives us more detail.
Evidently, right after Jesus cast out the demon from the boy from last week, Luke says…
cf. Luke 9:43 CSB—And they were all astonished at the greatness of God. While everyone was amazed at all the things he was doing, he told his disciples,
cf. Luke 9:44 CSB— “Let these words sink in: The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
Notice the play on words—“Son of Man” and the “hands of men.”
All three gospel writers use this wordplay.
We have some OT imagery.
King David was a man after God’s own heart, but he was also an imperfect and flawed man.
He sinned greatly during his lifetime.

One of David’s greater sins took place by taking a census of Israel.
cf. 2 Samuel 24:14 ESV— Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.”
Jesus uses this phrase again in the Garden of Gethsemane.
cf. Mark 14:41 CSB— Then he came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. See, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Mark 9:31— …“The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men…
Your translation may say, “handed over, delivered up, turned over into the hands of men.”
The idea in verse 31 is the certainty of what will happen in the future.
Jesus is absolutely positively certain that this betrayal into the hands of men will take place.
How can Jesus be so confident?
Well, because Jesus is the Son of Man.
He knows He is there to fulfill prophecy.
Although the betrayal is still in the future, it’s as if it’s happening right now.
He knows that He must fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah.

cf. Isaiah 53:7 CSB—He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
This concept of being delivered up is used in a legal sense.
In other words, Jesus is being handed over into the hands of men for the sole purpose of judgment and punishment for their sin.
From Scripture, we see how the elders, chief priests, scribes handed Jesus over. (cf. 8:31; Matt. 27:1–2; Acts 3:13),
We also see throughout the gospels how Judas (Matt. 26:24) and Pilate (Matt. 27:26) were guilty of handing Jesus over.
So, mankind most definitely is guilty of murdering Jesus.
But look at this…Peter preaches at Pentecost, right after the Holy Spirit arrives, and the Disciples are speaking in tongues preaching the mighty works of God in various languages…
cf. Acts 2:23 NET— this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles.
Don’t miss this, Jesus was not only handed over by His own people—the Jews,
Jesus was not only betrayed by one of the Twelve Disciples—Judas,
Jesus was not only murdered by the hands of the Gentiles,
but Scripture tells us that this was all predetermined by the hand of God the Father.
God the Father is the one who set this plan in motion, and humans more than willing to carry it out—because humans love the darkness more than the light.
This terminology, “being handed over” or “betrayed” in verse 31, is what’s called a “divine passive.”
It refers to God without using God’s name.
There’s an early church father named Origen. He interpreted this verse to mean “delivered up by God.”
In other words, Jesus’ betrayal was God the Father’s predetermined plan from the very beginning. (Genesis 3:15)
God took the initiative in providing man’s salvation after Adam and Eve sinned.
Jesus willing and lovingly submitted to God the Father’s plan and will for the salvation of mankind.
Please note that, God’s will and predetermined plan do not absolve, vindicate or release the Jews, Judas, and Pilate, and the rest of mankind of its responsibility for murdering the second person of the Trinity.
Back to…
Mark 9:31— For he was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after he is killed, he will rise three days later.”
Mark 9:32—  But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask him.
The Twelve don’t know what Jesus is talking about, and they don’t want to know.
Have you been there?
Somebody’s talking about something, and the story gets worse and worse, and finally, you shut the conversation down because you don’t want to know anymore.
Maybe the Twelve were afraid to ask for further clarification because of the consequences of what Jesus is saying.
They all remember what happened the last time Jesus said this, and Peter steps up and disagrees, and Jesus calls him Satan. Bad day.
One of the questions the Disciples all had to be asking themselves is this, “If Jesus dies, who’s going to raise Him?
The Twelve have seen Jesus raise people from the dead, but how does this work if He’s the one that’s dead? Who’s going to raise Him?
Mark 9:33—  They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”
So the Twelve get into another argument among themselves.
If the timing of the argument weren’t so tragic, it would be comical.
Jesus just disclosed to his closest friends that He is walking to his death, and the Twelve not only don’t say a word about that, but now they’re jockeying for position in the Kingdom of God.
This is so strange.
What kind of conversation is this?
We may not have conversations like this in our own lives, sit around and talk about how great we are—and how much better we are than others —but we sure do think about it, don’t we?!

Let’s review.
The Disciples argued about who was responsible for food in Mark 8:16.
They just finished arguing with the Scribes because they couldn’t cast out a demon by themselves in Mark 9:14.
We’re going to see them argue with a successful exorcist in verse 38 in a moment.
The Twelve argue with a woman who pours perfume on Jesus’ feet in Mark 14:4.
Peter brags that he will outdo all the other disciples at the Last Supper in Mark 14:29.
Back to…
Mark 9:33—  They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?”

Mark 9:34—  But they were silent, because on the way they had been arguing with one another about who was the greatest.
The Twelve always take a lot of heat from us as the Church in the 21st century.
The reality is that the Disciples are just like you and me.
They have a lot to say about minor matters and worldly things, but when Jesus asked them this question…silence.
The Twelve are embarrassed—as well they should be.
They are reveling in the sin of pride.
What brought this conversation on?
I’m guessing it was the trip up to Mount Hermon when Jesus chose Peter, James, and John to come alongside.
The other nine had to stay and continue ministering to people, and the “teacher’s pets” get to go on the field trip.
The other nine disciples were probably asking Peter, James, and John what happened up there on Mount Hermon.
Peter, James, and John were sworn to silence, but can’t you picture them egging the others on.

John says, “I can’t tell ya, it’s top secret.”
Peter joins in…“If I tell ya… I’d have to kill ya!”
This idea of position, order, and rank was very important to the Jews, and this conversation proves it.
This verse gives us a picture that Peter is not the leader of the Twelve at this point.
The pride of the Disciples doesn’t go away with this conversation.
They will keep talking about this until the night before Jesus’ death (Luke 22:24).
It happens several more times, even the night before his death! (Luke 22:24)
This attitude of superiority is so dangerous.
At the end of the day, we could sum up their conversation with one word—pride.
KEYPOINT 1:
There is never unity among proud people.

And we see that time and time again not only here but throughout all of Scripture.
Jesus sees a teachable moment.
Mark 9:35—  Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
Jesus sits down and prepares the Disciples for formal teaching.
Jesus says, “Alright guys, it’s time for a family meeting.”
He was about to teach them something important.
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.”
With this statement, Jesus turns the values of mankind on its head.
Jesus is good at this!
If you want to live, you have to die.
If you want to be perfect, go sell everything you have and give it to the poor.
If you want to save your life, you have to lose it.
If you want to be great, you have to suffer.
He who is first shall be last, and he who is last shall be first.
The Twelve respond to all that the same we do…I don’t like it!
No human links greatness with service— or being a servant.
We hear this kind of stuff in our world…. “There’s no such thing as second place—second place is the first loser.”
I was talking to a director of a halfway house for men in Phoenix years.
And I remember him saying, “yeah, I’ve got to keep these beds full so we can beat the other shelter down the street!”
Everybody wants to win. What he was trying to win, I don’t know.
KEYPOINT 2:
Leadership is serving people, not using people.
Here’s the irony with pride.
It keeps us from receiving the very thing we want.
When proud people promote themselves and do not repent, their lives often end tragically.
KEYPOINT 3:
If we don’t choose humility, God chooses humiliation.
The reason God doesn’t zap you after you sin is because of His grace!
He loves you and wants you to repent on your own.
But if you choose not to repent, God will discipline you in and through love.
He will humiliate you to get your attention.
And if that doesn’t work, He will take you out. He will bring you home.
God will not allow a child of His to embarrass Him and shame His holy name repeatedly.
So Jesus redefines success in verse 35.
Success in God’s eyes demands humility.
To illustrate this point …
Mark 9:36—  He took a child, had him stand among them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,
So all eyes are on this little child. Jesus chose to raise this child and honor him in front of The Twelve.
Mark 9:37—  “Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.”

In first-century Israel, babies and children were considered insignificant.

The reason for the insignificance was because the mortality rate was so high for children.
Children were not prized in Jewish society.— they were tolerated.
In other words, Jesus did not give the Twelve a pecking order.
He didn’t say, alright, Peter, your first, James, and John your second and third…Judas, you are most definitely last.
No, Jesus chooses a child and raises him into a position of temporary honor.
And yet, this child hasn’t done anything!
This kid can’t eat by himself or even dress himself, and yet the Disciples are great if only they serve him.
Rabbis considered it a waste of time to teach a child under the age of twelve.

What’s interesting in verse 37 is that Jesus chose a word in Aramaic that means the same thing—child and servant.
It’s one and the same.
Oh, the irony.
Notice in verse 37 that Jesus did not command his disciples to become like children but to welcome those who are like a little child.
Jesus’ lesson was obvious—the disciples were not to consider themselves great, and they needed to work on humility before Jesus humiliated them.
And whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but him who sent me.”
Here we have a dose of theology.
It’s impossible for someone to know God and yet not know God’s son.
Jesus as God the Son is the gate and the door to God the Father. (John 10:7; 9)
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
Mark 9:38—  John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
Oh no…apparently John is feeling a little guilty.
He’s now wondering if they had done the right thing.
Notice John’s word choice here.

He doesn’t say, “I.” He says, “we.”
“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him because he wasn’t following us.”
John is speaking for all the disciples.
So why is John feeling guilty?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but what irked the disciples about this exorcist was not only was he was casting out demons in Jesus name…
But more importantly, he was successful at it!
This man was obviously a Believer in Jesus, and they were irritated because he was having success where they failed last week. (Mark 9:14–18)

This man certainly did not have the knowledge about Jesus as the Twelve does, so they took it upon themselves to try and stop him.
After all, He’s not part of the club!
How dare this man cast out demons and free people from their misery in Jesus’ name!
Who does he think he is?!
He’s doesn’t have apostolic authority like the Twelve!
Notice how John told this story to Jesus… “He wasn’t following us!”
Oops! Was that a slip of the tongue?
Shouldn’t John have said, “He wasn’t following You, Jesus!”
Isn’t that just a little presumptuous?
There’s a reason, Jesus called James and John “the sons of thunder.”

Jesus responds…
Mark 9:39—  “Don’t stop him,” said Jesus, “because there is no one who will perform a miracle in my name who can soon afterward speak evil of me.
Notice the phrase… in my name (9:37, 41).
The Twelve understood this phrase in a royal/kingly sense.
In my name means “with my authority” or “in my place.”
For example, a king who commands one of his servants to do something in his name gives the servant both a set of instructions and the authority to carry them out.
In other words, the only people who can do something in the king’s name, are those whom he gave the authority to do so.
So the Twelve obviously thought that since Jesus had given them the authority to cast out demons, no one else should have received that commission and privilege.
But Jesus must have surprised them.
He told the Twelve to “Stop forbidding him.”
Jesus rebuked them and also provided directions for the future.
Jesus is correcting the Disciples theology and attitude.
Jesus is saying, “Look guys…just because he’s not a part of the apostolic club doesn’t mean that he’s not allowed to do the same thing you’re doing.
The casting out of demons was done by God’s power, and God’s power is not limited only to the Twelve.
Casting out demons clearly demonstrated that the man was not against Jesus, and Jesus continues.
Mark 9:40—  For whoever is not against us is for us.
Verse 40 is a proverb of sorts.
At first glance, verse 40 seems excessive…shouldn’t there be some type of middle ground.
Do you know lots of grey in between that black and white statement?
Jesus is saying, this man is not your enemy—he’s your brother and friend.
You’re on the same team!
Mark 9:41—  And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ—truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.
The most humble act—even the giving of a cup of cold water—does not go unrewarded by God.
PREACH:
What does all this mean for us today?
Well, it’s a good thing none of us struggle with pride.

Takeaway #1
The first takeaway for us this morning is to confess our sin on a daily basis.
If we’re just a little honest with ourselves and with God, we’ll admit that we are absolutely consumed with our wants, our desires, and our plans.
We’ll confess that we’re addicted to ourselves and our comfort.
And dear friends, we need to confess this as sin.
Takeaway #2
The second takeaway is a reminder that Christ’s church has many different people with many different gifts and beliefs.
Not only are we a divided country, but we are a divided Church.
We must embrace not only our immediate family known as the local church, but Our Father in Heaven desperately wants us to love our extended family who are Christ-centered, Holy Spirit-filled, and Bible-believing—
And yet hold to some doctrinal and theological beliefs that differ from ours.
We have One Father, One Savior, and are baptized into One Spirit for the purpose of unity.
We also need to confess our sins in this area and start listening to our Brothers and sisters in Christ instead of shutting down the conversation.
We all have a lot to learn from one another.
When we listen and even agree to disagree on these minor issues, every local church gets stronger, becomes more healthy—and when a church becomes healthy, she grows.
And our third takeaway deals with our personal relationships and the sin of pride.

Pride will burn down everything in your life.
For those of you who are married, I want to share with you that out of all the years of pastoral counseling….
I’ve never had a husband and wife come to me who struggle with out-serving one another.
I’ve never had a husband say, “Dustin, we’re thinking about divorce— because my wife and I just can’t stop serving one another.”
“We can’t stop thanking God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We can’t stop submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ!”  (Eph. 5:20)
It’s never happened, and it will never happen!
Yes, there is a way to live this life, and Jesus shows us that it is the way of humility, service, and suffering.
Jesus preached it and lived it, and His followers are to do the same.
PRAYER ROOM:
LORD’S SUPPER:
PRAY:

Sermon Bibliography
Blight, Richard C. An Exegetical Summary of Mark 9–16. Exegetical Summaries. Dallas, TX: SIL International, 2014.
Blum, Edwin A., and Trevin Wax, eds. CSB Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.
Crossway Bibles. The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008.
Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.
Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 8. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.
Gaebelein, Frank E., D. A. Carson, Walter W. Wessel, and Walter L. Liefeld. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke. Vol. 8. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984.
Garland, David E. Mark. The N.I.V. Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.
Hiebert, D. Edmond. The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press, 1994.
Hughes, R. Kent. Mark: Jesus, Servant and Savior. Preaching the Word. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989.
Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.
MacArthur, John. Mark 9–16. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.
Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.
Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.
Sproul, R. C. Mark. First Edition. St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2011.

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