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.”
Mark 9 is very similar to Matthew 17… They both begin with an account of the Transfiguration, and then as Jesus comes down the mountain he is confronted with the boy with an unclean spirit.
Jesus then predicts his death for the 2nd time. And he follows it with his 2nd lesson on discipleship found in today’s Key Verse.
The disciples were seeking glory and power. They were arguing over who would be the greatest in the new Kingdom… except that they thought that the new kingdom included Jesus overthrowing the government and becoming King over a new, powerful Israel.
But instead, Jesus suffered and died – and ushered in a Kingdom whose currency was humility and servanthood.
I know a lady. She would never be considered young. She has two daughters in college. She supports her family by working in my daughter’s school as a teacher’s aid. She also volunteers at her church to work with special needs kids. This woman takes care of my disabled daughter at school. Her job is to help her… with everything. She helps her write. She makes sure she eats her school lunch. She wheels her through the school halls. She hugs her and teaches her to read.
This woman is more valuable in God’s Kingdom than ten presidents. Our world doesn’t place much value on weakness… But Jesus does. Jesus essentially says, if you want to be great in my Kingdom… take on lowly tasks that don’t get much fanfare – like caring for people with little status in this world… care for the homeless, the incarcerated, the elderly, the widow, the single mother, the victim of sex trafficking – or the disabled child.
Jesus doesn’t want your status. He doesn’t care about your title. He wants humility. He wants your sacrificial service.