[Podcast] The Way Up Is Down


All of us want success. We’re looking for it in our careers, our marriages, our finances, and everywhere. I believe Jesus wants us to have success, also.  Maybe even more than we do!  But, is it possible that Jesus’ definition of success is different from ours?  How does Jesus describe success, and what direction should that take us?

Life group Discussion Questions are below!

If you are the discussion leader, just have everyone in your group open this page on their mobile device. Be sure to take turns asking the questions, reading the verses, and talking together.  Remind everyone that these questions are just a guide, and that the best questions and thoughts will come from notes taken on Sunday.

Have you ever walked in on a discussion, already in progress, and accidentally asked a question which was totally irrelevant to the important topic that was already at hand?

On Sunday, Jason Turner described just such a situation…

They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the RomansThey will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”
-Mark 10:32-34

They were on their way to Jerusalem… What was ultimately to happen to Jesus in Jerusalem?

At this moment, what was the sense of the disciples?

What was the feeling of everyone else who was following?

Why do you think there were two different feelings going on here? Could it have to do with the immediately preceding words of Jesus? (See the following verses, and discuss.)

“Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
-Mark 10:29-31

How was this line of questioning inappropriate at this specific time?

This seems to have been a recurring theme with these two disciples… At one point, they even had their mommy come ask the same question of Jesus!

Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
-Matthew 20:20-21

What was the response of the other disciples?

When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.
-Mark 10:41

Indignant. That is kind of a funny word.  What does it mean?


How do we get indignant at other Christians?

My Story:

When we had been married for just a few years, we rented a duplex in a pretty sketchy neighborhood.  We really didn’t like it.. In fact, we were a little scared to live there, but at that very young stage of our lives, it was all we could afford. Like most young couples, it seemed we were always strapped for cash in the big city.
A friend of mine, married for less time than we had been, lived there also.  We went to the same church, and saw each other frequently.
One day, my friend and his wife bought a house!  A nice one!  It was a real big-boy home, with a living room, a dining room, and a patio!  The works!  Best of all, it was NOT in the sketchy rental neighborhood. It was a real home in a well-established part of town.
I guess I should have been happy for them, but honestly, I was a little jealous.  This kid was younger than I was, and had been married for less time than us.  At the time, it looked like there was no end to our sketchy living situation, and here they were in an all grown up situation!
On the Sunday after they bought the home, my friend announced to everyone in the “young married” Sunday School class that they felt God was rewarding them, since, for their entire (year-long) marriage, they had made a priority of tithing. That is why they now had the beautiful house!
NOW I was indignant!  Holy Cow!  A whole year of tithing! What had we been doing!?!  Where was OUR house!?! Who in the world were THEY to be talking about faithful tithing together after ONE YEAR of marriage!?!

So, that is my story.  Was I right to be indignant?  Have you ever been there?

What did Jesus say to James and John that I actually needed to hear? (see the following verses)

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 
-Mark 10:42-45

So what should this mean for us?  What about me needs to change?

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