Monday Morning Coffee Break – Life With Jesus
Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” (Mark 9:33-37)
Politics brings out the worst in people. The disciples had eagerly listened to Jesus tell of the coming kingdom and those among them that would see the emergence of that kingdom come with power. Excited at the prospects of positional power they began to argue among themselves who would get the best seats. As the crowd of disciples walked along the road this became their argument. Matthew was a tax collector and could have thought of himself more qualified than the fishermen in the group. As a zealot Simon would plead national pride and his devotion to Israel. Judas might have suggested being in charge of the national treasury for hidden reasons revealed later. Peter, James and John could have revealed their special place in the ministry of Jesus as they were the ones with Jesus when He was transfigured on the mountain. Twelve men had twelve good reasons to be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus had only one position to offer them.
Mark’s account lends a sense of mystery to the story. Jesus inquires what the disciples were arguing about and they remained silent – probably out of fear and embarrassment. The Lord was such a powerful teacher. He tells the twelve to gather to him and He calls a child to Him. Taking the young boy in His arms (what a great picture of Jesus taking a young boy in His arms) He forces twelve grown prideful men to look upon the face of an innocent child and learn a hard lesson. “If you want to be great, fellows: here is what you need to be like.” The argument on the road became a life lesson. This lesson would stay with them throughout their lives. Sadly Judas would fail this lesson quickly as he betrayed the Lord. The eleven would go on to serve Jesus as little children giving their lives for the establishment of the kingdom of God, the church of Jesus Christ.
Leaders learn the first lesson of leadership is about those they lead. Positional leadership is about power. Effective leadership is leading others with a spirit of humility and servitude. The real lesson in Jesus’ rebuke of His disciples is the relationship we share with one another. If we follow the example of Jesus and walk in His steps we learn how to serve others. We do not argue about greatness but about service. The heart of a child is not lifted up against others. Humility is the trademark of disciples of Christ to give lives of service to others for the glory of God. Ultimately it shows our love for the Father through our love for Jesus Christ.
The dispute on the road turned into a lesson on the journey of their faith. Keep children around to remind you of the lesson Jesus taught. Whenever disputes come ask for a child to be brought in. Serving others is why we serve. Jesus died for all men.
Humility is nothing else but a right judgment of ourselves. (William Law, Christian Perfection, 1726)