Mark 10

What a Servant Wants

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Mark 10:51

Suppose Jesus visited your home today and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” How would you respond? In Mark 10, a variety of people asked Jesus to do something for them. Not all of them received what they requested.

The Pharisees, hoping to embroil Jesus in controversy, asked Him a question about divorce. Jesus refused to be baited. Instead, He referred them to God’s ideal for marriage. Once again the Pharisees were unable to discredit Jesus, and they left as they came—with hard hearts and hateful intentions.

The rich young ruler sought approval. He assumed Jesus would acknowledge his faultless character. Jesus, however, knew the man was controlled by his pride and possessions. Instead of receiving a commendation, the young ruler was handed conviction. He “went away sad” (v. 22).

Although the disciples had been traveling with Jesus for three years, they didn’t receive what they wanted from Jesus either. They thought they’d be praised for protecting Jesus from annoying parents who wanted Him to bless their children. But Jesus rebuked the disciples, indicating they lacked the pure-hearted, selfless faith the children possessed.

James and John then proved the shallowness of their faith by requesting positions of power in Jesus’ kingdom. The other disciples “became indignant” when they heard about it. Jesus rebuked them again, reminding them that His kingdom was populated with selfless servants, not self-centered masters.

Mark 10 ends with a blind man’s request. Bartimaeus acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah by calling Him “Son of David” (v. 48). He also recognized Jesus’ authority by calling Him “Rabbi” (v. 51). Bartimaeus had no agenda. He asked for mercy (vv. 47-48). Pleased with the blind man’s 20/20 spiritual vision, Jesus rewarded him with physical sight. Bartimaeus received what he requested.

The Pharisees looked for loopholes and justifications. The rich young ruler wanted validation for his own brand of religion. The disciples sought exclusivity, recognition, and power. Are our requests just as misguided as theirs? What do we want Jesus to do for us?

Those who will be “great” in God’s kingdom learn to serve (v. 43). First, we serve Jesus with childlike, humble faith. Then we serve others, extending to them the mercy Jesus has so graciously given to us.


Read Mark 10:32-45. According to verse 32, Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem, where He will be crucified. What should the disciples have learned on this trip? Why do you think they didn’t absorb what Jesus said?

Consider what annoyed the disciples in verse 13, what amazed them in verses 23-27, what astonished them in verses 32-34, and what angered them in verse 41. What do their responses indicate about their mindset? In what ways do you struggle with those same feelings?

How do verses 46-52 illustrate Jesus’ description of servanthood in verses 42-45? Do you think the disciples recognized that connection? Why or why not?

Denise K. Loock

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