Angling for Power

Scott Hoezee

Read: Mark 10:32-35

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” (v. 37)

It is an unhappy pattern in Mark: Jesus predicts his death, and the disciples respond by grasping for power. Again and again Jesus said his way went down a sacrificial path. But the disciples could not get rid of their dreams of earthly splendor. They believed Jesus would knock off Caesar and take over the government of a new Israel, and when that happened, they wanted top-ranking cabinet posts. The disciples even argued about this from time to time, each vying for the top positions of power.

It is easy 2,000 years later to be critical of the disciples. Why couldn’t they just listen to Jesus? Why did they keep trying to lead Jesus where they wanted him to go instead of following where Jesus was already leading? We would never do that. Would we?

Well . . . the history of the church is not real encouraging on this point. Altogether too many church leaders, past and present, have angled for political power. We wish the church had more clout, more leverage, more influence in Washington or other capitals of power. Individually we sometimes wish that we, too, had more sway over how things go in society. Of course, it’s not wrong to want to influence the world for Jesus. But like the first disciples, we need to do this in sacrificial ways, just like the Master whom we, too, are still supposed to be following, not leading.
—Scott Hoezee

Make us humble servants of your gospel, O God.