I think the desire for greatness and glory is hardwired into the human psyche. Its one of the driving motivations behind us working hard at Uni or in the workplace. Although we might not publicly admit to it, we want recognition, honour, promotion. And Jesus’ disciples were just like us - only they were a bit less subtle! In Mark 10 Jesus is confronted with two disciples blatantly pushing for the top seats in the kingdom: “Grant us to sit, one on your right hand and one on your left , in your glory.”
Jesus gives the most wonderful reply. “ You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink?” What Jesus is talking about here is the cross - thats the “cup he is about to drink”. Think about it for a moment - what Jesus is saying is astonishing. When the disciples think about glory, they are presumably thinking about thrones, and trumpets, and honour. But when Jesus thinks about glory he is thinking of one thing: him dying on a cross, self-sacrificially serving the world. So here’s the big challenge from Mark 10. Jesus does not have any problem in us pursuing glory and greatness. He just says - “make sure you are pursuing it in the right place: the cross is the place of glory, not a throne.”
“ Whoever would be first among you must be the slave of all, for even the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Wow. This is Jesus at his most challenging, his most counter-cultural. Do you desire greatness enough to pursue it Jesus’ way?