Living By Jesus’ Values
Lord, pry open both my mind and heart. Replace any pretence and coldness with the fullness and fire of Your Spirit.
Read MARK 9:30-41
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“It is always the secure who are humble” (G.K. Chesterton, 1874-1936).
Jesus’ second prediction of his passion (31) is fuller than the first (8:31) in that he foretells that he will “be delivered over to human hands.” The Greek verb implies a divine agency at work, which Paul later affirms: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). This second prediction was made during a secret journey through Galilee (30). To minimize detection, the party may have broken into small groups, coming together at certain points en route (Matt. 17:22). The secrecy enabled Jesus to teach his disciples without interruption. He is preparing the twelve for the cross and all that lies beyond.
When they reach Capernaum, two private discussions between master and disciples take place. The first is accompanied by a question from Jesus to the disciples (33-37), the second by a question put to Jesus by John (38-41). Both questions lead to memorable Jesus sayings.
The first might be entitled: First and Last. Rank was a critical issue in the world of the disciples. The Qumran sect, who gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls, annually revalidated the rank of each member according to worthiness. This ranking established the order of seating and speaking. Jesus turns such ranking upside down! True greatness is caring for people, like children, who are socially powerless. Jesus’ second lesson is: For and Against. “Whoever is not against us is for us” (40). We are to regard as on our side all who work in his name, despite their not being “one of us.” There is no inconsistency with the saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30; Luke 11:23). Note the difference between “us” and “me.” The person to whom John refers is “for” Jesus. That matters much more than not being one of us.
“What were you arguing about …?” (33). Imagine Jesus putting this question to you about some recent disagreement. Build your response into your prayer time.
Loving Father, I confess that pride of place and tribe sometimes override Your clear teaching. Help me have a servant’s heart.
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