Sunday

19 September 2021

Mark 9:30-37

‘Whoever wants to be first among you must be last of all and servant of all’ (v. 35)

Psalm 1

Background

Today’s passage subverts our customary scale of values. It begins with one of a series of passages in Mark in which Jesus predicts his death and resurrection. Given the general assumption at the time that the Messiah would be a victorious leader the disciples find what he says incomprehensible (compare with Mark  8:31-33). Later, indoors at Capernaum, they are arguing about leadership and pride of place. Jesus insists that humility and service are the true marks of greatness (compare 10:41-45). He then illustrates the point by reference to a child. In our dealings with the young and vulnerable we are dealing effectively with God who sent Jesus.

To Ponder:

  • What does verse 35 say to those on the career ladder?
  • Does verse 37 idealise childhood?
  • What does it mean to ‘receive a child in the name of Jesus’ (verse 37)?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England.

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