Scripture Union taught me the discipline of daily Bible reading..."John Stott,
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.
Jesus' second prediction of his suffering begins this passage and it is soon clear that the disciples still don't understand it at all. Indeed, it engenders fear (32). Is this fear on his behalf or for themselves? A measure of their failure to grasp Jesus' meaning is that their conversation is not about his suffering but about their own future prospects. Perhaps they saw this language of suffering as a threat to their future. Jesus, however, never lessens the nature of his absolute demands for his disciples. Instead, he introduces the notion of "servanthood" for the first time (35; 10:45) and uses the metaphor of a small child to illustrate the inversion of status in the kingdom of God (36,37). In Jesus' day, no one regarded a child as having any particular status or importance other than for the future.
Then, a measure of their distracted and status-seeking mindset is further revealed as they complain to Jesus about a potential rival whom they have seen driving out demons in Jesus' name (38-41). Crushingly--for them and for us --not even being a close follower of Jesus is allowed to become a mark of status.