Read Mark 9:33-37.
You could tell Jesus had boys. Here they are walking along the road, and all the disciples are doing is arguing with each other. Been there, done that, says the mother of two sons.
I can even picture the scene: Jesus had been walking ahead, leading the way to Capernaum. The disciples were bunched up in small groups staggered behind him, arguing the whole time. Jesus, like any wise parent, just ignored them. Let them try to work it out, but then, when they’d settled into the house, decided to use it for a teachable moment.
“What were you arguing about on the road?” — as if he didn’t know.
Of course, just like all good children, it grew deathly quiet, because they didn’t want to admit the subject of their disagreement.
They were arguing about who was the greatest. Wow, there is really nothing new under the sun.
So, Jesus sat down and put the matter to rest.
If anyone wants to be first, he must be the VERY last, AND the SERVANT of all.
I bet that took the sting out of their jabs at each other, don’t you? Because, really, who wants to be last or a servant? “Never mind,” I’m sure some of them thought, “I’ll let John go first, since Jesus likes him so much!”
That’s when he once again used a child for a visual, because they were acting worse than children — they were acting like teenagers! Children are loving and accepting; they love to help their parents, and feel so grown up when they do. It’s the teenagers who want constant service and think they rule the roost. That’s why adulthood hits some so hard!
I can’t help smile when I think about this conversation — that is, until I put myself in the disciples’ place. For, haven’t I been there — wanting to be seen, be noticed, be honored, while letting others serve in the church or community?
Do I really have to be the very last? Yes, it’s the only way to find his favor and blessing. To make the Heavenly Father pleased. I remember John the Baptist’s words, when he was at the height of his popularity with the crowds. They were pouring out to the river to hear the man and submit to his baptism. Why would he want to stop?
He must become greater; I must become less.
How can they see Jesus, if I’m standing in the way? I’m ready to start walking to the end of the line. It may take me a while, but I’ll get there.
An acrostic from childhood days comes to mind:
That’s where we find true joy in following Jesus.
Where are you standing in line? I’ll race you to the end!