Mark – Jesus the Servant of God


Mark had a personal relationship with the apostle Peter which is the likely source of the content of his gospel. While Matthew’s gospel portrays Jesus as the King, Mark reveals Him as God’s Servant.
Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

While it is understandable that Jesus is the Servant of His Father, the unthinkable truth is that Jesus also came to serve us. We sometimes think that God is worthy of our service but when we serve others we choose who are the worthy ones. We feel that some people are “below us” and should serve us instead. Not so with Jesus.

The Servant did not just preach, He did the works of God

Jesus had stated that one of His reasons for coming to earth was to preach.

Mark 1:38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Yet the gospel of Mark mentioned little about the content of Jesus’ preaching as compared to the other gospels. Instead Mark chose to emphasize the other works of Jesus.

This is not to say that preaching is not important. But it is a reminder that preaching is not an end to itself. Jesus ministered to the other needs of the people. In Mark 6, when the people were hungry He fed them.

Not only did the Servant do the works of God, He did so with urgency. Mark’s gospel portrays Jesus as constantly on the move. Thirty-nine times Mark used the word “immediately”, giving a sense that Jesus’ time on earth was short and that there was much to accomplish in His few years of ministry.

The Servant of God made sacrifices

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

When Jesus came to earth to serve mankind, He paid a huge sacrifice. He left His heavenly comfort and came to earth as a mere human being. His ministry was not an easy one and required Him to work all day as the crowd kept going to Him for healing and to hear Him preach. However, the ultimate sacrifice He paid was when He offered up His own life as a ransom for mankind.

Jesus practised sacrificial serving and taught us to do the same.

Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

We are to take up our own cross. Our “cross” is not to die for mankind but God has a plan for each one of us to serve Him and mankind. He has given us unique talents and experiences to do that. What are you putting off and not doing as you are not willing to sacrifice time and energy to do?

The Servant of God serves with love and concern

Throughout the gospels we see that Jesus served with passion. He was not just going through the motion of getting things done; He had genuine concern for the people that He was serving. On one occasion He refused to listen to His disciples’ suggestion to send the people away and instead wanted to give them something to eat.

Mark 6:35 By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. “This is a remote place,” they said, “and it’s already very late. 36 Send the people away so that they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

37 But he answered, “You give them something to eat.”

On another occasion Jesus had little regard for the rules of the Pharisees that healing is not allowed on the Sabbath. He went ahead to heal the man because He has sympathy on him.

Mark 3 Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” 4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

When we serve in various aspects of ministry, it is easy to be caught in the task of doing and be so concerned about doing the task the efficient way that we do not pay any focus to the fact that we are serving man and need to consider their needs.

Servanthood the key to greatness

Mark 9:35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

The world teaches us that anyone who is great will have many people serving him. Yet Jesus taught the very opposite. The more people you serve the greater you are. In order to achieve that we need to be non-discriminative in the people we serve. Many times we deem people as worthy of our service if that person is important in society or that person can give us some benefit. If we hold on to this mentality, we will not be able to achieve greatness in the eyes of God.

Serve God in anticipation of His return

Mark 13:34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.

We do not know when Jesus is returning again. Therefore, we cannot afford to leave serving Him until the last moment. We need to seize every opportunity to serve Him so that we may not be found idling and not utilizing the gifts that He has given us.

What are the gifts that God has endowed you with? How are you using your gifts to serve Him and others?