Tuesday 22 February 2011

Bible Book:

"Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me." (v. 37)

Mark 9:30-37 Tuesday 22 February 2011


It's easy to make fun of the Jesus' disciples as they areportrayed in the Mark's Gospel. They are an uncomprehending bunchof men, failing time and again to grasp what Jesus is about. Theyrequire detailed explanations of Jesus' parables; they areconsistently blind to the implications of Jesus' ministry and tothe inevitably of the conflict and pain that it will stir up.

The first time Jesus foretold his death and resurrection (Mark8:31), Peter (surely speaking for all the disciples) took himto one side and told him to stop talking such nonsense. For hispains, Peter received a sharp rebuke from Jesus, "Get behind me,Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but onhuman things" (Mark 8:33).

That episode is echoed in these verses, in which the disciples'failure to understand what Jesus is submitting himself to gives wayto a discussion about their own relative merits as disciples. It'sa discussion that, as Jesus explains, is at best irrelevant and atworst puerile. May it also be a way of avoiding the inevitable? Isit possible that the disciples ignore Jesus' increasingly insistentpredictions of his trial and death because they are afraid of whatit may mean for themselves?

For the Jesus of Mark's Gospel, humility is about following a paththat leads to crucifixion. It's a path that contradicts all ourhuman instincts for personal preservation. Yet, by drawing a childinto the centre of their conversation, Jesus highlights thevulnerability in all of us and heightens our sense of dependence onGod. 

To Ponder

When have you felt most dependent on God? Has itcoincided with a feeling of vulnerability - and, if so, what can welearn from that?

Is there a time when you have avoided following apath that you felt God was calling you to? How might you have dealtwith that situation differently?

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