Mark 9:30-50 Study Guide


“How do I achieve greatness in my life?” It’s a question we all wrestle with as we consider what our life will be. This past weekend, we continued our study through the Gospel of Mark as Pastor Duane Roberts of our Boynton Beach campus shared a powerful word from Mark 9:30–50. In this message, we found out what true greatness actually looks like according to Jesus and were given clear biblical steps to achieving it!

In this week’s group study, Pastor Reuben Ramsaran invites us into a deeper conversation about Mark 9:30–50!

If you missed the message or want a refresher, click here to watch it in its entirety. 

Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points fo the week, and a look ahead.

Memory Verse of the Week: Mark 9:35 (NIV)
“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’”

Icebreaker: How do you define greatness? In your opinion, what are some examples of people who have achieved greatness?

Key Takeaway: It’s not about you!

Getting the Conversation Going: We all have our picture of what greatness is, right? Maybe there’s an influencer on social media or a businessperson, athlete, or celebrity who epitomizes what this looks like. Maybe there’s a friend or neighbor who just seems like they have it all and have achieved so much. Maybe it’s notoriety or fame, physical strength, athletic prowess, financial power, a bigger house, an exotic car, another degree. By themselves, these things aren’t bad, but they’re not the end-all, be-all. Jesus makes this clear throughout the Gospels, showing us a very different understanding of success and greatness.

Paradigm-Shifting Truth: Often the values of heaven are opposite to our thinking here on earth. Today, we want to hone in on one of these truths found in Mark 9:35, which says, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” We all like to be first. We’re hard wired to want to get the best and greatest, to get ahead, to be at the top of the mountain. It’s in our DNA and so often drives us forward. But, today’s lesson challenges us to reverse this.

It’s possible you’ve heard someone say, “It’s not about you!” If those words sting, then this paradigm shift is for you! We all need to hear this because the overwhelming tendency in humanity is toward selfishness and self-centeredness. So, even as believers, we constantly need to be reminded that it’s not about us, our feelings, our desires, our goals, our comfort, our rights, or our opinions. It’s all about Jesus!

Discussion Question 1: What does Mark 9:35 reveal to us about God and His character?

Discussion Question 2: Why is it so difficult for us to live this Mark 9:35 servant lifestyle Jesus is talking about? What obstacles get in the way?

Servant to All: The word for servant in Mark 9:35 and throughout the New Testament is diakonos, where the word deacon comes from. At its core, it speaks of someone who isn’t above doing the lowliest work, like sweeping up dust or washing feet (John 13:1–17). And more specifically, it refers to a person the Lord has inspired to carry out His plan, one through whom God is delighted to work and thereby minister to others by means of service. Why? Because that person is willing, available, and of humble heart to do whatever the Lord has placed on their heart. 

Jesus tells us the greatest in His kingdom are the ones who devote themselves to serving others. The only ambition welcome in God’s kingdom is to see God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven and to see His plans and purposes carried out in reverence and respect, in meekness and humility, and in sincere love and devotion.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”—Mark 10:45 (ESV)

Discussion Question 3: What are some of the characteristics of a servant?

Discussion Question 4: What are some ways you can live like a servant this week?

Now in your conversation, we encourage you to share a story about a time someone served you. Who can you think of that exemplifies this servant nature that Jesus told us is at the heart of being His disciple? What qualities and characteristics do they exhibit? How can you follow their example?

This Week: Be a servant this week! Intentionally look for ways to serve those around you. Start with those closest to you and then work your way outward.

Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week.

Mark Series Resources

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Defining a Disciple

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We’re so excited to worship with you this weekend as Pastor Doug Sauder shares from Mark 10:1–16 showing us Jesus’ view on marriage and divorce!

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.  

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