Mark 10:45 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:45, NIV: 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 10:45, ESV: 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, KJV: For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45, NASB: For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give Hislife as a ransom for many.'

Mark 10:45, NLT: For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.'

Mark 10:45, CSB: 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."

What does Mark 10:45 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

While Jesus calls us to be servants (Mark 10:43) and slaves (Mark 10:44), the position is not reciprocal; the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 acts for our benefit, but He is God's servant, not ours (Isaiah 53:11). Our attitude is like His, but where we literally put ourselves in the position of servant or slave for others, He takes the "form of a servant" to God, not to us (Philippians 2:7–8). For us to usher in and be a part of the kingdom of God, we must live out our understanding that we are ultimately powerless (Mark 10:14–15). God has the real power, regardless of our lot in life. Even if we are recognized as leaders in the church, that role is still in essence a servant.

"Ransom" is from the Greek root word lutron and refers to the price paid to redeem a slave or captive (Leviticus 25:51–52) or a firstborn (Numbers 18:15), or recompense for a crime (Numbers 35:31–32) or injury (Exodus 21:30). Jesus is able to "proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Isaiah 61:1; cf. Luke 4:18–19) because He is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 who came to bear the iniquities of many, so they can be accounted righteous (Isaiah 53:11).

Hearing these words for the first time, the disciples think the "captives" are the Jews who live under Roman rule. Jesus says the true captives are those who are slaves to sin (John 8:34). By Jesus' death and resurrection, we can be set free from the sin nature that separates us from God (Romans 6:18). This freedom from sin is complete (John 8:36), but it transfers our slavery from sin to righteousness (Romans 6:16–18). Our freedom releases us from selfishness, arrogance, fear, and the desire to control. Our slavery to God frees us to love others and experience eternal life (Romans 6:23).

This freedom is the manifestation of the kingdom of God in us. However, it is also a terribly foreign concept for Jews whose mission has been to maintain a segregated nation of God-followers. In Jewish history, great leaders were those who condemned their subjects for idol worship and led their armies in defense of their borders. Jesus' leadership anoints a new age. It is built on submission to God and sacrifice for others. More often than not, those "others" will be the rejects of the world, defenseless women (Mark 10:1–12), powerless children (Mark 10:13–16), and the bold but helpless broken (Mark 10:46–52), not the rich leaders the disciples find so easy to respect (Mark 10:17–31).