“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘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.’” Mark 9:35-37 (NIV)
Jesus had for the second time predicted that he would be killed and that after three days he would rise again. Imagine the consternation of the disciples! Mark records that they did not understand what Jesus meant and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:32) Matthew states that the disciples were filled with grief. (Matthew 17:23)
However, human nature being what it is, the disciples soon began arguing amongst themselves which of them would be the greatest in heaven. Eventually they asked Jesus. Our verse for the day was his answer.
Picture that scene in your mind’s eye as Jesus takes the little child in his arms and places him in front of the disciples.
In Galatians, Paul defines the lack of status of a child in Jewish society. “What I am saying is that as long as an heir is under age, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.” (Galatians 4:1)
By presenting a child to them as a role model they must follow. Jesus was demanding that his disciples think out of the box!
The disciples wanted to know which of them would be the greatest in heaven. Jesus’ reply was that they would never even enter the kingdom unless they gave up their self-seeking desire to be great and became like little children.
Jesus was giving his disciples a radical lesson in humility. They must have a childlike faith – and so must we!
Little children love their parents without reservation and totally rely on them for their every need. Their parents are the focus of their life and mean everything to them.
We need to cultivate that same heart attitude towards our Heavenly Father. We do that best by putting God first and serving others in his name.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us grace to open our hearts to the transforming power of your Holy Spirit, so that we can better serve you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen