Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.
They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
They had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in the their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:30-37
It makes me feel a little better that the Twelve actually argued like children, even around Jesus. It is kind of ironic that they did, being that they were following the Son of God. At the time they didn’t quite know it, but even in this passage, they were squabbling like children. Arguing about who is the most loved, or the greatest among them. Just like siblings, trying to get a parent to say they love them more. They didn’t even want to admit it to Jesus when he asked.
In the time of Jesus, children were the last on the hierarchy of the family. So, when he was saying that they should receive the child to receive the one who sent me, he was saying to them, accept the ones who are considered the lowest. Be the one who doesn’t look upon the meek with disdain, but be the one who looks upon them with love.
In typical Jesus fashion, he turned it around on them again. He was trying to get them to understand what was going on, but as most of his teachings did at the time, they went over the heads of them. So, he told them, the first will be last. What a way to get them to rethink how they were thinking. Everyone always tries to be the number one guy. Everyone wants to be the favorite, but what Jesus was trying to say is, being first should not be the to be that. The first thing on our list should be how to be a servant of our fellow man. Striving to be the best should include ways to make the meek feel more comfortable in this world.
How much does it still ring true today? How often do we let the striving for power get in the way of what our true mission is in life? How easy is it to let our personal ambitions get in the way of us loving our fellow neighbors? We should all still be striving to be good to everyone, including those who we consider our enemies, and those considered scum by our society standards today. We are all children of God, and in His eyes we are all the same, no matter our status in life, job title, or size of our bank accounts.