October 31, 2021

Part 1—Mark 10:35-45 (NIV)


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Humility and Wisdom of Jesus: Part 1—Mark 10:35-45

Message Outline

Mark 10:35-45 (NIV)

35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” 

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 

37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” 

38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” 

39 “We can,” they answered. 

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” 

41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 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.” 

Humble servanthood is...

1. Better than self-centered living.

“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them… Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13 

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:16–17 

2. Knowing who we are and who God is.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…”

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? Job 38:1–5 

3. Living sacrificially. 

“…and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

We serve with uncommon generosity, giving our time, spiritual gifts and financial resources. 


Small Group Questions

CONNECT WITH GOD (choose one of these practices that best suits your group or use a practice from a previous week)

  • Lord Open Unto Me: Have everyone get comfortable in their seats and close their eyes. Slowly read (or have someone prepare and read) this prayer from Howard Thurman. 

Open unto me — light for my darkness.

Open unto me — courage for my fear.

Open unto me — hope for my despair.

Open unto me — peace for my turmoil.

Open unto me — joy for my sorrow.

Open unto me — strength for my weakness.

Open unto me — wisdom for my confusion.

Open unto me — forgiveness for my sins.

Open unto me — love for my hates.

Open unto me — thy Self for my self.

Lord, Lord, open unto me!

  • Be Still: Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God…” Have your group get comfortable in their seats and allow a calming moment of silence. Slowly read this phrase from the Psalm removing a word each time you read it. Have your group either journal or share together what they heard during this time of active listening.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know that I

Be still and know that

Be still and know

Be still and

Be still



Journaling: Many spiritual practices this year will require a journal. If you are a small group leader be prepared with paper and pen for those who are without. Please remember that there is no right way to journal. Journals can be intermittent, upside down, written, drawn, or doodled. They are a way to capture what God is doing in you over time. Journaling with your small group will include a prompt; however, in your time alone with God, allow the Spirit to be your leader.

Blank Check: Explain: In our passage today, the two disciples effectively ask Jesus for a blank check. They want something from him, but are fearful he will deny them, so they ask, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask,” without saying what it is. In your journal, draw a picture of a check. Address the check to yourself. In the box and line for the amount, write down whatever it is you would like from the Lord, should he give you a blank check. When everyone has finished, discuss one or more of the questions below.

  • What do you want from God and why?
  • Do you think your blank check request from Jesus is something he also wants for you? Why or why not?
  • What do you think Jesus would write in the “memo” line of your check?
  • Do you feel deserving of God’s blessing in your life? Why? Why not?

CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group)

  • Read Mark 10:35-45.
  • Read the main points from the sermon outline.
  • What topic in the sermon and scripture stood out to you?
  • What motivated James and John to make such a bold ask of Jesus?
  • Why were the other disciples indignant with James and John?
  • Unlike the other disciples, Jesus does not respond with indignation. What stands out to you about Jesus’ response to James and John (v. 36-40)? To the twelve (v. 42-45)? 
  • Re-read verses 39-40. What is the cup and baptism Jesus refers to? Who do you think Jesus means when he talks about those who will sit at his right and left?
  • What other examples in Jesus’ life and ministry shows how he became a slave of all (v. 44)?

CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one question for discussion)

  • What kind of leader are you in your home, in your workplace, or in other areas where you have leadership?
  •  Would you describe yourself as a servant leader? Why or why not?
  • When did you see an example of true servant leadership recently? How did it impact you?
  • Where is the wisdom in servant leadership and sacrificial living?
  • How does humble living bear witness to Christ to those around us?
  • Share one practical way you can demonstrate humble leadership this week. 
  • How can you live more sacrificially for the sake of the Kingdom of God?


End your time in prayer writing down any prayer requests in your journal. Take a moment to note any prayer requests that God has answered from previous weeks and offer praise to the Lord.