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From Last to First – Unpacking Biblical Greatness

Read: Mark 9:30-50

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.”

Jesus, truly the greatest in the kingdom of God, made Himself last of all, the Servant King, for our sake.

The Bible says that Jesus sat down as He called the disciples to Him. “When a Rabbi was teaching as a Rabbi, as a master teaches his scholars and disciples, when he was really making a pronouncement, he sat to teach. Jesus deliberately took up the position of a Rabbi teaching his pupils before he spoke.” (Barclay). Jesus the Rabbi had something of great importance to teach His disciples.

Jesus taught this timeless truth that for a follower of Christ, the desire for praise and recognition should be foreign. He calls us to embrace being last as a willing choice, allowing others to be preferred before us. Jesus himself is the ultimate example of humility and service (Philippians 2:5-11). He came into the world not as a conquering king, but as a humble servant. He lived a life of service, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and comforting the broken-hearted. He washed his disciples’ feet, an act of service that was reserved for the lowliest of servants. And he ultimately gave his life on the cross as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity.

The world’s idea of power says, greater a person, more the people to serve them. But Christ declared that true greatness is seen not by how many serve you, but by how many you serve. “It was not that Jesus abolished ambition. Rather he recreated and sublimated ambition. For the ambition to rule he substituted the ambition to serve. For the ambition to have things done for us he substituted the ambition to do things for others.” (Barclay).

May we increasingly seek to be like our Master, choosing to be the last and servant of all. Not an easy way to live by human standards, but we can do all things through Christ who enables us (Philippians 4:13). So let us ask Jesus our Servant King to enable us to be His true followers in this world.


  1. Am I truly putting others before myself, or am I just going through the motions?
  2. How can I better understand and live out the concept of true greatness being measured by how many I serve, rather than how many serve me?
  3. In what ways am I seeking recognition and praise for myself instead of serving others?

Scripture Writing: Philippians 4:13

Song: The Servant King

Bible Verses: Jesus, Our Servant King

For more daily devotions like this – At the Potter’s Wheel (Kindle)

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