Theology for the Day

Mark 10:45 This statement is the climax of the section that begins with Peter’s confession: “You are the Christ” (8:29). Three times Jesus has predicted his arrest, death, and resurrection (8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34). Now he will explain the meaning of his death (v. 45). James and John have made an outrageous request—to sit at Jesus’ side in the future kingdom (vv. 35–37). Insensitive to him, who just foretold his crucifixion, they selfishly think only of themselves and their own glory. Jesus gently rebukes them,informing them that they do not know what they are asking, and that it is the Father’s role to assign such places (vv. 38–40). The other 10 disciples are “indignant at James and John” (v. 41). Jesus tells them they are thinking like unsaved people—demanding their rights and dominating those under them.

Such thinking will not characterize his kingdom, but the servant leadership he exemplifies will: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45). Instead of demanding honor, he, the Lord of glory, comes as a servant, and the epitome of his service is to die for others. The word “ransom” denotes the price paid to free slaves—slaves to sin, in this case. The ransom price paid to free us is Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, his death in our place, which he willingly suffered for us. The preposition “for” after the word “ransom” reinforces the concept of substitution. Jesus lays down his life for many: he dies in their place, dying the death they should have died. Mark 10:45 is inspired by Isaiah 53, which is a summary of the task of the servant of the Lord. In sum, Jesus pays the price that sets men free.

Theology for Life—Jesus’ whole life is a ministry to others, designed to serve them. Above all, his service to them means offering himself in death, in perfect obedience to the will of his Father, as a payment for their sins.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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