Journey to the Cross: Pride

Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45 CSB) 

One of my favorite things about the Gospels is the way we get to see the disciples interact with Jesus. If we get enough distance from actual Scripture and forget the details of the stories in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we might begin putting the disciples on pedestals, imagining them to be superstar believers with all the answers and an inside track to our Lord. If we aren’t careful, we can sometimes forget how human they really are. 

The truth is, they were just a bunch of guys who sometimes got it right, but more often than not, stumbled their way through life with Jesus. They often forgot what they’d just learned or heard, proving that they didn’t really listen in the first place. In this passage of Mark, two of the disciples had the audacity to ask Jesus to promise them prime seating in heaven. The other disciples didn’t like that one bit, and the group of followers began to argue. Jesus quickly put a stop to that by telling them that whoever wants to be first will actually be last and the one willing to be last will actually be put first. 

What a paradigm shift for the disciples! What a shift for us! We may not all spend our lives letting pride get the best of us or essentially try calling shotgun in Jesus’ car like the disciples. But we all possess the human nature that inherently desires honor and praise. In some way or another, we all struggle with making ourselves little gods, forgetting to love either God or our neighbors. 

For me – maybe for you too? – pride is forever something I will have to fight, placing it at Jesus’ feet over and over again. As I forget the lessons He’s taught me and slip back into the habit of striving for first place, I have to consistently repent for hustling to earn credit and attention and success. Choosing humility is a year-round, life-long battle. But in these weeks leading to the cross, where the most perfect, blameless, holy Man lowered Himself to take not the credit but all the blame for us, we can really lean into the invitation Jesus gives us to humble ourselves and seek Him. 

Do you struggle with pride? Is it hard to live out the idea of the first being last and the last being first? Do you find it hard to comprehend true servant leadership, the kind Jesus modeled – and asks of us? You are not alone – and we are not defenseless in this fight. The Bible tells us in John 1:9 CSB that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

If we pray and seek His face, if we humble ourselves, confess, and turn from our sin – the very thing we are spending these forty days of Lent doing – He will forgive us. And that is something worth praise and applause! 

Oh Lord, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I let my pride get out of control again and put myself first again. I’m sorry I made my own needs priority over the needs of others. I’m sorry I forgot Who truly reigns. You are God, and I am not. You are almighty and worthy of all my praise! Thank You for guiding me back to You every time I get turned around. Thank You for reminding me, just like You reminded the disciples, that the only One worthy of worship is the One who humbled Himself to the point of death, for me. I love You, Lord, and I’m so grateful for this time to focus on You, not me. Amen. 

This is an excerpt from Journey to the Cross: Forty Days to Prepare Your Heart for Easter, from the (in)courage community. If you are enjoying this series, you can purchase the book to experience forty days of encouragement and guided Scripture, reflections, and prayers. 


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