The Path to Greatness


If you would follow Jesus, don’t seek ease or power. Deliberately seek the place of suffering, service, and death to self.

Mark 10:43-45


“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). This statement must have been very dear to Mark, the servant and gospel writer. It summarizes all that we have seen of Jesus’ person and mission. He wanted His disciples to understand that the ransom death He was about to die would be the climax of all He had said and done. Associating with the despised and rejected, enduring the contempt of the authorities, washing the disciples’ feet, going to the cross, dying in humiliation—this was Jesus’ path to greatness. It was for a life thus lived and a death thus died that “God has highly exalted Him” (Philippians 2:9).

The road to Jerusalem was Jesus’ path to greatness because it was the road ordained by the Father’s will. On this road, greatness can never be achieved as James and John had hoped. It can be reached only by following the Master’s steps, entering into His death, and then carrying our own cross in resurrection power, yielded to the Father’s will. If you would follow Jesus, don’t seek for pride of place, pride of ease, or the place of power. Deliberately seek the place of suffering, service, and death to self, and find the resurrection life of glory that so many saints have found before you. Consider the challenge and hope of Isaac Watts’ hymn, and in your death to self find true life.

Am I a soldier of the cross, 

A foll’wer of the Lamb, 

And shall I fear to own His cause, 

Or blush to speak His name?

Must I be carried to the skies 

On flowery beds of ease, 

While others fought to win the prize,

And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face? 

Must I not stem the flood? 

Is this vile world a friend to grace, 

To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign; 

Increase my courage, Lord; 

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, 

Supported by Thy word.

Thy saints in all this glorious war 

Shall conquer though they die; 

They view the triumph from afar 

And seize it with their eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise 

And all thy armies shine

In robes of victory through the skies,

The glory shall be Thine.


  • What is Jesus’ ultimate mission?
  • Why was the road to Jerusalem Jesus’ path to greatness? Explain.
  • What does “death to self” mean? Is it a good or bad thing?


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