#DailyDevotion I’m The Greatest
Mark 9:33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 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.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
After teaching his disciples how the Son of Man didn’t come to be served but rather to serve by his death and resurrection, the disciples had a little discussion about which of them was the greatest. It’s like they didn’t even hear Jesus’ words. Well Mark did report they didn’t understand what he said. Now in this discussion they were having about which one of them was the greatest we can also remember that at the very least nine of the just came away from being unable to cast the demon out from a little child. Also three of them also just came down the mountain with Jesus having witnessed his transfiguration, talking with Moses and Elijah and hearing the very voice of God. My guess it would be Peter, James and John leading the charge as to which of them was the greatest. But when confronted by Jesus they were silent.
So Jesus instructs them and us on being great. “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus had taught them what this meant in his own person earlier. By his betrayal, death and resurrection Jesus showed what it meant to be last and servant of all. You don’t get much last than being crucified on a cross and that was the death Jesus had predicted for himself. In his death Jesus became the Lamb who was sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world. His death justifies all.
To further make his point Jesus puts a child in the midst of them and embraces him. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Now children are pretty much the bottom of the ladder then. They were often even lower than the slaves for they had slaves over them and the children had to listen to them. Not too long ago I remember my grandmother telling me, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Yet Jesus puts a child in their midst, in a place of honor. The one who receives the lowest of the low in Jesus’ name receives Jesus and the one who sent Jesus namely the Father.
“In my name” marks one as a Christian. While of course we should help all people that we can, fellow Christians who have the name of Christ should be first on our list of people we serve. Jesus says, Mat 25:40 “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” Paul would later write, Eph 5:21 “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Rom 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” The Christian life is called to be one of service to our fellow Christians. It isn’t about being better than them. It isn’t about seeking to be the greatest among them. It is about being willing to service Christ through them and serving Christ through them. Our service to them is born from Jesus’ service to us. It is love in action proceeding from Christ Jesus’ love for us.
Lord Jesus Christ, you served us by your death. Grant us faith and grace to serve you through serving those who bear your name. Amen.