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Mark 10:42

ESV And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
NIV Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
NASB Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, 'You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles domineer over them; and their people in high position exercise authority over them.
CSB 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.
NLT So Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.
KJV But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

What does Mark 10:42 mean?

Jesus has taught the disciples many times that leadership in His kingdom requires humility and the willingness to submit to God (Mark 8:34–38) and serve others (Mark 9:35). He is walking toward Jerusalem. Once He arrives there, He will be crucified within a week. Meanwhile, His closest companions vie for positions of authority and influence. Jesus compares their attitudes to those of the Gentile Caesars and kings whose rule over the Jews is characterized by injustice and violence.

Why did Jesus use Gentile rulers as an example? While the Sanhedrin have some political clout, and the Pharisees harass the people over their obedience to the Mosaic law, the Jews are ultimately ruled by the Roman Empire. Even the Herods, who have some Jewish blood, rule as Romans. The disciples expect that Jesus will establish an independent Jewish nation and that they will be part of that civil leadership. Instead, He establishes the church, which exists under but independent from secular civil leadership.

Jesus doesn't deny the Twelve's desire for leadership positions in His kingdom, He just redefines what "leadership" looks like. Leaders in the kingdom of God are to be eager, willing shepherds of God's flock who do not lord over their charges (1 Peter 5:2–3). They must be moral, gentle, and respected by non-Christians. They must be faithful to their wives and good leaders in their families (1 Timothy 3:2–7). All this is in stark contrast to the Romans who threaten their subjects with crucifixion, place unregulated tax collectors over them, divorce and remarry at will, and kill their own family members to maintain power.

And yet it is human, flawed rulers to whom Jesus expects us to submit (Romans 13:1–7). The leadership model of service that Jesus establishes is not designed for a civil setting but for a family under the submission of civil rulers. God establishes civil rulers to enforce order and justice (Genesis 9:6; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Romans 13:3, although we shouldn't be surprised when they fail at this mission. Regardless, we are to follow the example of Jesus who came to serve, not secular leaders who serve just enough to accumulate money and power for themselves.
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