Scripture Union Resources

Me First!

Monday, September 2, 2013
Heavenly Father, what a joy it is to know that I'm Your beloved child and so very treasured by You.
Mark 9:30-41

[30] They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, [31] because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." [32] But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. [33] They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" [34] But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. [35] Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all." [36] He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, [37] "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." [38] "Teacher," said John, "we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." [39] "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, [40] for whoever is not against us is for us. [41] Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

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.

What does Jesus say is the way to be "great"?

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.

Pray today for your own desire for status and significance. What would Jesus say to you concerning this weakness?
Lord Jesus, help me have a true spirit of servanthood like Yours. Help me to find my significance in You.
Through the Bible In One Year: 
Song of Songs 7,8 / 1 Timothy 5


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