Who Is Really the Greatest?

I love the episode in Mark 9 where Jesus is traveling with His disciples, people have been miraculously fed, demons have been cast out, blind people have been given sight, and Jesus has nonchalantly mentioned His upcoming death a couple times lately.

Mark tells us that the disciples didn’t understand what he was talking about… but they were afraid to ask.

So Jesus just let them walk in their ignorance for a while. He didn’t rush in to answer all their questions. And it seems they didn’t wonder deeply enough, because in the very next passage, just when everyone settles in for some rest after a lot of miles on the road, Jesus hits them with a question of his own…

“Hey, back there on the road, what were you guys “discussing”?”

Silence.

Even Peter didn’t want to open His mouth for this one… Can you imagine Jesus asking you a question and you just… don’t answer hoping the moment will pass as you shrink into the scenery? (I bet you can…)

Back on the road they must have gotten a little heated as the conversation moved from whispers of “What did he mean ‘rise from the dead’? Is this another one of those parable things?” Now, here in the calm of the house in Capernaum, they were embarrassed. He must have overheard as their conversation turned from resurrection to “Which one of us is the greatest?”

Oof…

This really probably should have been a settled question by this point, right? There should have been no doubt that Jesus was greatest, and maybe the disciples were jockeying for P2 in his kingdom, but even at that Jesus leaves no doubt:

“Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

So many times, Jesus paints this picture and flips our power structures on their head. Today, in the wake of so much discussion and celebration of Resurrection, let’s remember who is the greatest and find someone to serve in His Name.

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