Mark 10:45

I. HOW IT DISPLAYED ITSELF. In a quasi-concealment: reversal of order and method of worldly greatness. The great of this world exercise authority for the most part and generally to their own advantage, and the loss and denudation of others. This precedent is only mentioned that it may be condemned. The greatness of the Son of man showed itself in:

1. Service. Typically set forth in the washing of the disciples' feet (John 13:4). Realized:

(1) In his position. Incarnate: born into the pain and shame of sinful humanity. In humble social circumstances; accustomed to labor and obedience to authority.

(2) In his work. His whole life, in its example, teaching, and miracles, was a ministry. What men needed was help, and he rendered it. And that his doing so might not be regarded as accidental, he declares it as the purpose of his coming into the world. And in relation to God, in the demands of his Law, he was obedient," fulfilling all righteousness."

2. Sacrifice. The culmination and seal of service. "To give his life" "indicates the climax of the service in which he was engaged (comp. Philippians 2:6: obedient - obedient unto death on the cross). The term ministering expresses the spirit of the life of Christ. His sufferings and death illustrated and displayed the submission of his whole course; they shed the fullest light on the object of his life" (Lange).

II. WHAT IT WAS TO ACHIEVE. It was to be no barren spectacle, or merely personal glory, but was to exert a practical influence upon the condition of those amongst whom he came. The kind of work it had to do corresponded to the needs of man. It was for men the Son of man lived. And as they were in a state of wretchedness and danger, he undertook to save them. In respect of this purpose the death of Christ availed for:

1. Redemption. His life was given as the ransom. "It is the first distinct utterance, we may note, of the plan and method of his work. He had spoken before of 'saving' the lost (Matthew 18:11); now he declares that the work of ' salvation' was to be also one of redemption.' It could only be accomplished by the payment of a price, and that price was his own life" (Plumptre). The natural state of men is one of bondage to sin. A "ransom" is an equivalent for a man's life or service (cf. Exodus 21:30; Leviticus 25:50; Proverbs 13:8). This price our Savior gave "instead of" ("for") men, as their Representative before God - in a certain sense as their Substitute (cf. Matthew 17:27; Hebrews 12:16; Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:19).

2. The redemption of many. "The expression 'many' is not intended to indicate an exclusive minority, or a smaller number as compared with all, for the latter expression occurs in Romans 5:18; 1 Timothy 2:4. The term is intended rather by way of antithesis to the one whose life was the ransom of the many (Lange). Its efficacy was to be felt far beyond the personality in which it first took place. We are invited to take wide, comprehensive views of the work of Christ. And there is nothing in the language of Scripture to lead to the supposition that only some may be saved. That which avails for one will avail for all who choose to comply with the condition of salvation, viz. faith in the Lord Jesus Christ's death as an atoning sacrifice for sin. The sinlessness and perfect obedience of Christ are his qualification for this work.

III. IN WHAT WAY IT SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED. The verse commences with for" - a word connecting it with the previous verses, to which it is appended as a reason for what is there enjoined. Our duty, therefore, with respect to the service and sacrifice he has rendered is:

1. To accept them for ourselves. By believing in the redemptive work of Christ we honor him, and the Father by whom he was sent.

2. To imitate his spirit. His kingdom is based upon service, and its dignities and authorities are the result of the spontaneous affection thereby secured. Service and self-humiliation are not only means toward the attainment of future greatness; they are that greatness already. Offices in the Church are not thereby abolished; they are only interpreted as functions of love: all dignity and authority otherwise derived are discountenanced, and convicted as usurpations.

3. To declare his work amongst men. In so doing we shall truly glorify him, and extend his kingdom to the ends of the earth. - M.

Ye know not what ye ask.
1. They did ask. Whatever be thy desire, go to Him.

2. These brothers had a definite purpose in coming to Him. Our prayers are often vague and indefinite.

3. These brothers were honest and sincere in their request. What, then, was there to be blamed in the matter? They had a false conception of Christ's glory; also as to the things which were involved in the granting their request. Holiness is a character which is formed within a man; it is not a gift conferred from without. He is the highest in the peerage who has served his Master best. By the cross Christ was elevated to the throne. The text means, "Ye do not know what is implied in the terms you employ in making your request, or what is involved in granting it to you." We may have a definite object in view, we may think it good and desirable; but we cannot trace it through all its bearings; we cannot see how it would affect us if bestowed; nor can we tell what may be required from us before it can be granted. The omniscient One alone can discern what is involved in our petitions. He will answer our prayers, if not in the letter, yet in the spirit. You ask for success in life, having in mind external prosperity. But God's view of success is a very different affair; in His estimation, success consists in what a man is, not in what he has; and He gives you that success by denying you the other. You ask for forgiveness, and expect it in joy. God answers by showing you more thoroughly your sins. We pray for holiness; it comes through sore trial. Thus God answers the prayer for purity.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

A beautiful instance of this in the life of the great Church father, , has often given both consolation and light. He wished to leave Carthage, where he had become deeply entangled in the snares of sin, and to visit Rome, then the metropolis of the world; but his pious mother, , restrained him with her tears, and would not let him go, being afraid that he would encounter still more dangerous snares in the great city. He promised to her to remain; but, forgetful of his duty, he embarked in a vessel under the cloud of night, and in that very Italy to which her affection was afraid to let him go, he found salvation and was converted. Pondering in his mind how the Eternal Love had conducted him to where he himself had thought of going only in the forwardness of his heart, he says, in his "Confessions," "But thou, my God, listening in Thy high and heavenly counsels to what was the scope of my mother's wishes, refused her what she prayed for, at that time, that Thou mightest grant her what was at all times the subject of her prayers."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

A tradition current in Wales is a striking illustration of these words. It is said that an old woman, who was very ungodly, was once travelling from Cardiff to a neighbouring town, some twelve miles distant, for the purpose of selling her vegetables. It was a winter's day, the east wind was blowing, and drove the hail and sleet right in her face, causing her to give vent to sundry curses and evil exclamations. When she was nearing the end of her journey, she began in a most irreverent manner to pray that the wind might turn to her back. Extraordinary to relate, the wind did turn, and for about five minutes she had the comfort of a tolerably easy journey. But, alas, poor short-sighted creature! she finished the sale of her goods, and at almost dark started to return home; but the wind, which she had been so anxious should change, had done so, and was there. fore again in her face. She had forgotten, when she prayed in the morning that it might turn, that to go home she would have to turn too, and then be exposed to its violence during the cold and dark night. The storm, too, had increased in fury, and it was not till the next morning that the old woman reached her native town.

Plans of Sermons.
We cannot drink Christ's cup of suffering so —



III.With such bitter ingredients.

IV.So capacious.


(Plans of Sermons.)

? —

I. Consider THE CUP PRESENTED TO OUR SAVIOUR AND THE MANNER IN WHICH HE DRANK IT. David speaks of a cup of joy (Psalm 23:5; Psalm 116:13); but there is a cup of affliction (Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15).

1. It was a bitter cup, consisting of the bitter ingredients of sin and wrath.

2. It was deep and large, and contained much like that which was presented to Judah in her captivity (Ezekiel 23:32).

3. It was a cup without mixture, it had torment without ease. In what manner did our Saviour drink this bitter cup?

(1)He did it not ignorantly, but knowingly.

(2)He did it not reluctantly, but freely.

(3)He drank it not partially, but entirely.


1. As no one can do what Christ did, so no one can suffer what He suffered.

2. Though no one can suffer what Christ suffered, yet His people must have some fellowship with Him in His sufferings, and be conformable to His death.

3. The people of God must expect trials.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

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