Jesus’ disciples arguing who is the greatest
Do you remember when Jesus’ followers were arguing over who was the greatest! (Mark 9:33-34)
Would Jesus say: “Well done!”
The disciples were arguing over who was the greatest among them and unbelievably this was now their third and final year of training!
Just imagine the situation, Jesus had chosen the disciples to carry on His work.
He was shortly going to die, so the disciples were going to carry on proclaiming about the Kingdom of God.
But they were arguing, and bickering about which one of them was the best.
What a total shambles!
Could Jesus really hand over the leadership responsibilities, to these men?
Can you imagine how Jesus would have felt?
Here He was, the Son of God, humbly going to His crucifixion, where He was to suffer, and die in total humiliation.
He was going to give His life as a ransom to set us free, and there were His followers arguing, over who was the greatest!
What pain and disappointment that must have been for Jesus.
At the start of this post is a picture of Mohammed Ali, the boxing champion, – he used to say: ‘I am the greatest!’
We wouldn’t say things like that, would we?
Well, no, we wouldn’t as such, but it is a lot more subtle than that.
What sort of actions, could be interpreted as: ‘I am better than you’?
What about if we snub people in conversation? We cut across what they are saying.
Perhaps we think, that what we’ve got to say, is more important, than what they’ve got to say.
We may feel superior to that person.
OK, we haven’t said; ‘I am the greatest.’
But that person we have just snubbed, feels as if it has been said.
Also God, certainly saw us in effect saying: ‘I am superior to you.’
Jesus said to His disciples, and He also says the same to us;
If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”Mark 9:35
Being first in the world, often means pushing oneself forward, and putting others down.
But it shouldn’t be like that for Christians.
What is our attitude towards others? Are we competitive?
Do we like to win in a conversation? Do we like to be, top dog of a group?
Notice Jesus asked the disciples, what they had been arguing about.
He knew very well, what it was all about.
He wanted them to confess, this fault they had.
What did Jesus do?
But they remained silent, they were ashamed to own up to it. Notice what Jesus did.
He sat down, and called the disciples to Himself.
He put aside His hurt, and His disappointment, and He humbly taught them, by giving them an illustration, to teach them humility.
Jesus put a young child in the midst of them. It was a place of honour.
That child had their attention.
What would their reaction be to this little one?
They could have thought;
- Come on Jesus! We’ve got more important things to be getting on with!
- What can we learn, from such a young child!
- ‘We’ve come to hear You, and not to waste any more of our time.
Jesus then took the child into His arms, and 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”
Some people may have no time for little children.
Perhaps they think that they, are too important to put themselves out, that it will be a waste of time.
Perhaps we hold the same view, when we come across some other Christians.
But if we welcome them, we are welcoming Jesus Christ the Son of God and God the Father!
Just think of all that fellowship with God, we could be missing out on!
While on the earth, Jesus lived a most humble and self denying life.
Although He was a man, and God, He made time for people, including poor people, and simple people.
Jesus asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?”Mark 9:33-3
But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said,
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
He took a little child and had him stand among them.
Taking him 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……..”
[i] Image Source: Mimi Elberfeld. Author: John Stango licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Boxing glove image: thanks to ‘The Pictorial Dictionary’ published by The Educational Book Company, London.