A Lesson on Greatness-Mark 9:33-37

Mark 9:33-37 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, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” 36 He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him 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.”
Marco 9:33-37 «Giunsero a Capernaum; quando fu in casa, domandò loro: «Di che discorrevate per strada?» 34 Essi tacevano, perché per via avevano discusso tra di loro chi fosse il più grande. 35 Allora, sedutosi, chiamò i dodici e disse loro: «Se qualcuno vuole essere il primo, sarà l’ultimo di tutti e il servitore di tutti». 36 E preso un bambino, lo mise in mezzo a loro; poi lo prese in braccio e disse loro: 37 «Chiunque riceve uno di questi bambini nel nome mio, riceve me; e chiunque riceve me, non riceve me, ma colui che mi ha mandato».
 
     Jesus returns to Capernaum for the last time before going to Jerusalem. We don’t know whose house it was but we know He had numerous contacts there. His question to the twelve disciples is interesting in light of the fact that He already knew what it concerned. They were caught by Jesus having a familiar argument as to who was the greatest in their rank. What caused this discussion again? Remember, Jesus took only three of the disciples with Him during the transfiguration and when they returned, He rebuked the rest because they could not help the demonized boy. It would be a normal reaction to think that the other nine were not as great as Peter, James and John.
     It was now time for Jesus to teach the Twelve yet another lesson about greatest in God’s kingdom and what status should look like as His followers. Although it was not the first occasion for it, Jesus provides the same message: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” This time He illustrates the lesson by using the young child in the house where the story occurs. The child in a family is, in essence, the least but the parents do everything possible to serve the child. Jesus then stands the child next to the Twelve, takes the child in His arms, and tells them if they would give service to this child as they would to serving other people, then dignity worthy of Jesus could be said of them. But if they coveted status among people and were driven by the accolades of men, then they would not have truly welcomed Jesus or the One who sent Him. May we also be reminded of this lesson as we examine our heart and motives today.
Pray with me: Lord, I live in a world where fighting over position and importance is the norm. Help me to put others first and show the world what it means to represent the greatness of Jesus in serving others.


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