29 – Humility and Pride
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
How is Jesus’ attitude different to that of the disciples?
How are the things that Jesus says different from what our society teaches?
We have noticed several times that what Jesus said about himself and the work he had come to do was vastly different to the expectations of the people around him. His ideas were so different that the disciples failed to understand what he was talking about when he spoke about being killed and rising from the dead. It was becoming obvious that they hadn’t understood how the followers of Jesus are supposed to treat each other either.
In the world, everyone wants to be important. People work extremely hard in order to make a lot of money and to have a good job where others will look up to them. The disciples thought in the same way. When they were walking together, they were arguing about which one of them was the most important, who was the best disciple, which one of them had achieved the highest status. And the truth is, we can often think in the same way.
But since the beginning of Mark, we have seen that Jesus is not the usual type of King, and his kingdom is of a different type as well. The Lord Jesus Christ came to the world as a man in order to serve other people, to suffer and to give his life for a world that rejected him. If this how the King behaves, then what sort of attitude ought his followers to have? In complete contrast to what the world says, this is the way the followers of Jesus are supposed to behave: if you want to be very close to God, and be as he wants you to be, then you need to stop thinking about yourself and do everything you can to serve others.
Of course, there is a danger that the disciples would hear what Jesus said and only serve other adults who deserve their respect and who would take notice of what they were doing. Therefore, Jesus sets a child in front of them and says that even the way they treated a child was supposed to reflect their love of God. The only way we will be able to serve others like this is if we have seen how much God has loved us, through sending his Son to die in our place.
How should thinking about the way Jesus left heaven and suffered for us change our attitude towards others?
Why was Jesus drawing attention to the way that his followers ought to treat children?
that God would make you like Jesus, giving up your own rights and serving other people.