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Friday, January 8, 2010

1/9/10- Mark 9:30-37 Jesus predicts his death and welcomes children

1/9/10- Mark 9:30-37- (pp Mt 18:1-5; Lk 9:46-48)

Jesus predicts his death a second time- become a servant/child

30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered over to human hands. He will be killed, and after three days he will rise." 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the road?" 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all." 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."

Calvin abridged: Those who desire to become great by rising above their peers, will be so far from gaining greatness that they do not even deserve to occupy the lowest corners. It is humility alone that exalts us. A little child is a symbol of humility, but not at all points. Children do not know about contending for the highest rank. The least among you shall be great- We are not called to think more highly of those who deserve to be despised, but of those who divest themselves of pride, and are perfectly willing to occupy the lowest place.

Thoughts: There is a contrast here. Jesus is speaking of his death, and the disciples were arguing about elevating their status. Their pride seems so trivial at such an important time. Pride is indeed the greatest illusion. It is the thing we work for, strive for. We want to be admired by our peers, and be on top of the ladder. But pride is buried with us in death- it does not last. So Jesus elevates children- who are trusting and naïve. Children are dependent on someone else to feed, clothe, love, and care for them. So we are called to depend on God. We are also called by Jesus to welcome children. A little children will lead them (Isaiah says), and so we may learn from the dependency and trust of children.

Prayer: Lord, help me not to seek great things for myself, but great things for your glory.

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