Looking out for number one
After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Then he put a little child among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me.” Mark 9:33-37
The society dictates how one should pursue happiness. And usually, it is achieved by taking care of the number one, yourself. Jesus is teaching His disciples from the text of how a believer will achieve being number one. It is by taking the position of a servant that will lead to a life of happiness. The disciples had a hard time understanding this truth. In fact, when Jesus told them once again of His impending death, they were debating once again on who will sit when Jesus returns to His Kingdom. “They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.” Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came over and spoke to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do us a favor.” “What is your request?” he asked. They replied, “When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left” (Mark 10:34-37). Jesus was talking about His suffering and death and all that matters to His disciples is who will have the prominent seat in His kingdom. So Jesus lay once again what prominence in the Kingdom of God is all about. It is by serving others with humility not because of personal praise and accolade, but because this is what honors God and glorifies Him. After all, this is how Jesus lived His life while on earth and this is His stated purpose. “...whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45). What Jesus was asking from His disciples and following His example are not easy. Yet, He promised that He will provide you the strength that you need so you could live your life in accordance with His will. “Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen” (1 Peter 4:11).