PASTORAL POINT – “Who Is The Greatest?
Mark 9:33-37 “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.”
What is your place in God’s kingdom? In Mark 3, Jesus isn’t giving us some philosophical reason how the kingdom of God really works or, how we are to live our life as Christians, but at this instance, Jesus is giving us a basic key spiritual
understanding on how to be great in the kingdom of God. It is the question of how to come into God’s presence. Our Scripture opens up with Jesus and the disciples back in the town of Capernaum and when it came the meal time; there was concern about where to sit, who was served first, who drank first out of
sometimes one cup available.
Jesus calls the disciples to him with the intent of teaching them about spiritual greatness, and He hits them from several different angles to reinforce His point. Jesus starts teaching them by telling them that the first way to be great in the kingdom of God, one need to be like a child. Jesus gives us with this illustration of
displaying a child, the paradox of the true spiritual nature of being a Christian: “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Notice that not only does Jesus turn our understanding of greatness, but He adds a little extra not only do we have to be last to be first, but we have to be a servant, a servant of all. Jesus is not playing mind games with us here, Jesus gives us a hint of this in Matt. 19:30 where He says, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” Jesus is referring to the end of time when we will stand before the Lord, and we will be surprised by many who we see as being first in the kingdom, that God sees them as last. It is not who we are or how great we are that makes us powerful before God, but what we do and how we act on Jesus’ behalf before others. Is it by the authority of Jesus or by our own authority? We can only become greatest in God’s kingdom by Jesus’ authority. Our own authority will get us nowhere in the kingdom of God, but the authority of Jesus will take us right to the top. “I tell you the truth; anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.” Jesus said; (Mark 9:41).
This whole idea of who is the greatest makes us to fall into a place of understanding that we are living in the two kingdoms at once, as we in this world but not of this world. At the same time that we live here as short-timers in this earthly kingdom, the Word of God also tells us that we are building the Kingdom of God. While physically, we may inhabit on the earth, spiritually we are already active citizens of God’s kingdom. As we wrestle against flesh and blood, likewise we fight against spiritual principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against the spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:10-12). Serving is not easy on the ‘ego’, but as we read in 1st John; “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love
of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16). Amen