by Matt Schroeder
If I had to guess, I would imagine every person who reads this would be able to answer this next question with the affirmative. Have you ever had a time when you introduced yourself to someone you didn’t know and within 2 minutes of the conversation you have already forgotten the person’s name?
Unfortunately, this has happened to me more than once. Okay, let’s be honest, a lot more than once. For me, it reveals a deep level of selfishness still abiding in me. My heart and mind are constantly filled with, “how can I advance the case for Matt Schroeder.” By forgetting their name, I reveal I never was really interested in the person to begin with, just examining what they could offer me.
Go with me to Mark 10, and put yourself in this scene. Jesus and his disciples are walking towards Jerusalem. Jesus is telling the disciples he is going to be mocked, spit upon, beaten, crushed, and crucified. He is spilling his heart out to his disciples. This was probably a very emotional and vulnerable thing for Jesus to talk about. He’s laid himself out their before the disciples, and how do they respond?
The text tells us James and John “came up to him....” This next scene is a continuation of the scene we just read, for that text tells us the disciples were behind him on the road. They say, “teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
HUGE WORDS! Not only is that a bold thing to say to the one who created you, but it’s timing could not be more telling. Jesus responds, “what do you want me to do for you?” And Jesus goes on to discuss with them the things they wanted to talk about.
What is so humbling to me about this text is not the disciple’s question and actions, because I probably would have done something similar. Rather, what is so captivating to me is Jesus’ response. How easy could it have been for Jesus to say, “are you kidding me? I just told you I was going to be handed over and beaten, and all you guys can talk about is who gets glory? I just poured my heart out and all you guys can think about is yourself.”
But he didn’t do that. He didn’t try to turn the conversation back around to himself. He didn’t resist, rather, he engaged. He engaged the disciples where they were.
For me personally, this is perhaps one of Christ’s most brilliant displays of true humility in the gospels. What could be more important than comforting Jesus and rallying around him in the moments leading up to his crucifixion? But instead, the disciples make it an opportunity to talk about themselves, and use Christ to advance their names.
Am I quick to come to my own defense? Yes. Am I worried if I don’t look out for myself, then no one else will? Yes. Am I afraid if I forget about myself and think about others that no one will then ever think about me? Yes.
My hope and prayer is for the ability to let go of myself like Jesus did. I want to be caught up in thoughts and prayers for other people that I’m okay when someone else doesn’t love me the way they should.
Can you give when you don’t receive?