1. A SELF–SACRIFICING LIFE
a. How far reaching was the ministry of Christ? Mark 2:2; 5:21, 24.
“Among the crowds that thronged about the Saviour were many who had spent their lives about the Sea of Galilee.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 147.
b. How pressed was He by the needs of others? Mark 3:20; Matthew 8:20.
“[Christ] devoted entire nights to prayer, [and] through the day He was thronged by great companies of people, and did not give Himself time so much as to eat.”—The Desire of Ages, p 321.
“[Jesus’] life was one of constant self-sacrifice. He had no home in this world except as the kindness of friends provided for Him as a wayfarer. He came to live in our behalf the life of the poorest and to walk and work among the needy and the suffering. Unrecognized and unhonored, He walked in and out among the people for whom He had done so much.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 19.
2. CARING FOR OTHERS
a. As the needs of the people were so pressing, what did Jesus do in order to provide rest for His disciples? Mark 6:31. Why?
“Though time is short, and there is a great work to be done, the Lord is not pleased to have us so prolong our seasons of activity that there will not be time for periods of rest, for the study of the Bible, and for communion with God. All this is essential to fortify the soul, to place us in a position where we shall receive wisdom from God to employ our talents in the Master’s service to the highest account.
“When Jesus said the harvest was great and the laborers were few, He did not urge upon His disciples the necessity of ceaseless toil. . . . He tells His disciples that their strength has been severely tried, that they will be unfitted for future labor unless they rest awhile. . . . In the name of Jesus, economize your powers, that after being refreshed with rest, you may do more and better work.”—My Life Today, p. 133.
“It is not wise to be always under the strain of work and excitement, . . . for in this way personal piety is neglected, and the powers of mind and soul and body are overtaxed.
“Care needs to be exercised in regard to the regulation of hours for sleeping and laboring. We must take periods of rest, periods of recreation, periods for contemplation.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 233.
b. When the people continued to follow them, what was Jesus’ response? How did He provide for their needs? Verses 34–44.
“Jesus, precious Saviour, never seemed to become weary of the importunities of the sin-sick souls and the sick with all kinds of diseases. ‘And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them’ (Mark 6:34). This means a great deal to the suffering ones. He identified His interest with theirs. He shared their burdens. He felt their fears. He had yearning pity that was pain to the heart of Christ.”—That I May Know Him, p. 47.
c. After the people had been fed physically and spiritually, how did Jesus provide rest for Himself and His disciples? Verses 45, 46.
3. THE PATH OF SERVICE
a. What is involved in following Christ in the path of service? Mark 8:34.
“Says Christ, the beloved Teacher: ‘Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ Yes, follow Him through evil as well as through good report. Follow Him in befriending the most needy and friendless. Follow Him in being forgetful of self, abundant in acts of self-denial and self-sacrifice to do others good; when reviled, reviling not again; manifesting love and compassion for the fallen race. He counted not His life dear, but gave it up for us all. Follow Him from the lowly manger to the cross. He was our example. He tells you that if you would be His disciple you must take the cross, the despised cross, and follow Him. Can ye drink of the cup? Can ye be baptized with the baptism?”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 178.
b. How does Jesus compare worldly gain with the price paid in serving Him? Verses 35–37.
“What can be compared with the loss of a human soul? It is a question which every soul must determine for himself––whether to gain the treasures of eternal life or to lose all because of his neglect to make God and His righteousness his first and only business. Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, . . . looks with grief upon the large number of those who profess to be Christians who are not serving Him but themselves. They scarcely think of eternal realities, notwithstanding He calls their attention to the rich reward awaiting the faithful who will serve Him with their undivided affections. . . .
“He would have every individual sense his responsibility to so use his precious time here in this world that it will be fruitful daily in good works. This is the only worthy aim of every living mortal––to employ his God-given faculties with endless results in view.”—That I May Know Him, p. 321.
c. As we give ourselves wholly to God, to serve wherever He calls, of what does He assure us? Luke 22:35.
4. FOLLOWING IN THE MASTER’S FOOTSTEPS
a. What request was made concerning James and John, and what was Jesus’ response? Mark 10:35–40.
“In the kingdom of God, position is not gained through favoritism. It is not earned, nor is it received through an arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character. The crown and the throne are the tokens of a condition attained; they are the tokens of self-conquest through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 549.
b. How did Jesus use this opportunity to compare worldly kingdoms to His own kingdom? Verses 41–44.
“It is in a life of service only that true happiness is found. He who lives a useless, selfish life is miserable. He is dissatisfied with himself and with everyone else. The Lord disciplines His workers that they may be prepared to fill the places appointed them. Thus He desires to fit them to do more acceptable service. . . .
“There are many who are not satisfied to serve God cheerfully in the place that He has marked out for them or to do uncomplainingly the work that He has placed in their hands. It is right for us to be dissatisfied with the way in which we perform duty, but we are not to be dissatisfied with the duty itself, because we would rather do something else. In His providence God places before human beings service that will be as medicine to their diseased minds. Thus He seeks to lead them to put aside the selfish preference, which if cherished would disqualify them for the work He has for them.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 229.
c. How did Jesus’ own life testify that He was the greatest Servant of all? Verse 45.
“Christ might, because of our guilt, have moved far away from us. But instead of moving farther away, He came and dwelt among us, filled with all the fullness of the Godhead, to be one with us, that through His grace we might attain perfection. By a death of shame and suffering He paid our ransom. From the highest excellency He came, His divinity clothed with humanity, descending step by step to the lowest depths of humiliation. No line can measure the depth of His love.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 17.
5. THE MASTER SERVES HIS STUDENTS
a. What did Jesus do for His disciples at the time of the Passover? John 13:3–5.
“The disciples had just been disputing as to who should be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They could not agree. One would claim the honor for himself; another for himself. None of the disciples were in a proper frame of mind to comprehend the significance of coming events, or to appreciate the solemnity of the present occasion. They were not prepared to participate in the Passover Supper.
“Christ looked upon them sadly. Trials, He knew, were before them, and His great heart of love went out to them in tender pity and sympathy. As a manifestation of His love for them, He ‘took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.’ This was a great rebuke to them all.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 261.
b. What lesson of service did He give them? Verses 12–16.
“By the ordinance of humility we are taught an impressive lesson. Christ had shown to us the necessity of walking humbly before God, and of realizing what He has done for us by the gift of His Son. Christ knew that His disciples would never forget the lesson on humility given them at the Last Supper. In taking upon Himself the humblest form of service, He administered to the twelve the sternest rebuke that could have been given them.”—Ibid.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Name some ways that Jesus put the needs of others above His own human needs.
2. How does Jesus care for His laborers today? What happens when we overtax ourselves?
3. What does it mean practically to follow Christ in self-denial?
4. How can we find true happiness? How should we react to the work God places in our hands?
5. How did Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper give His disciples a strong rebuke?