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Jesus a second time taught his disciples that he, the Son of God and Messiah, would be apprehended and executed, but three days later would rise from the dead (vv. 30-31). The disciples, however, were still clueless about what he talked about (v. 32).
On the way to Capernaum the disciples competitively jostled with each other for number one status among themselves (vv. 33-34). Jesus, however, taught them that fellow believers should not jockey for position with one another but humbly serve and love each other (vv. 35-37).
Jesus also taught them that there are true brethren who live and serve the same Lord elsewhere and they should accordingly love and support them (vv. 38-41). Jesus warned that anyone seeking to cause believers to sin and fall away from him (“stumble,” v. 42) is guilty of great sin, proving that such persecutors are lost and eternally condemned (v. 42). Jesus then taught that true believers should not yield to temptation, taking whatever drastic measures are required to avoid falling away from him back into a life of sin (vv. 43-48).
Believers who experience fiery persecution of those who seek to make them stumble should not yield to such (“if the salt loses its flavor,” v. 50) but continue in the faith (“have salt in yourselves,” v. 50) and love one another (“have peace with one another,” v. 50).
Truths to Nail Down and Apply
- Jesus is the greatest pattern and illustration of humbly serving and loving others (vv. 35-37; cf. Phil 2:1-16). You must have the same frame of mind as Jesus! Don’t jockey for position, humbly love and serve your brethren!
- Christians are responsible for doing whatever it takes to not sin (vv. 43-48). The bill for enjoying sin’s temporary pleasures is paid with the eternal suffering of the soul. Christian, take whatever drastic measures are required to avoid sin!
- Christians will be opposed and hated by unbelievers because of their faith (Phil 1:29; 2 Tim 3:12). Do not be surprised by this, Christian. Persevere in the faith, looking to Jesus.