Mark 9: 30 37
Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn’t want anyone to know their whereabouts, for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive.” They didn’t know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it.
They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?” The silence was deafening – they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.
He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”
He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me – God who sent me.”
In last week’s lesson from Mark, Jesus had told the disciples about the suffering he was to undergo and the requirement that following him also meant suffering. In this week’s lesson, Jesus again tells his disciples that he will be betrayed and killed and will rise again.
Mark tells us that Jesus restricted this knowledge to the disciples because he didn’t want anyone else to know it. I’m wondering if he really needed to be so restrictive about the information. After all, the disciples not only did not understand what he meant; they were afraid to ask him to explain it all to them.
Something apparently they did understand was priority. They argued about who was the greatest. Jesus answered this concern by giving a lesson and an example. An example that told them what greatest meant to him.
He said “Whoever wants to be first must be last and servant of all.” He then showed them a little child and said, “When you welcome the weak and defenseless, you are welcoming me.”
Not only are we great when we help the weak, we also see him in the weak.