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."
Thoughts: How do the disciples respond to the idea that Jesus might die? Their concern would be who would inherit the ministry. Kind of sad- would have thought they would have been more sympathetico. Jesus says the greatest is not the one who elevates him or herself- but the one who is least- the servant, the one who is willing to be humble. So today we need to hear this important lesson. God uses those who will humble themselves and listen to Him more than those who are seeking self-promotion, self-assertion, and self-ishness. Today we will start Vacation Bible School at my church. It is a great blessing to teach and learn from little children.
Prayer: Give me grace, O God to glorify you more than myself.
John Calvin abridged: The disciples had previously heard Jesus say he would die, but they did not listen. Mark says they did not understand. Why? They imagined Christ's kingdom would be prosperous and delightful and that as soon as Christ made himself known he would be universally received with highest approval. They were guided by a confused piety rather than a clear knowledge of the truth. They considered his rejection to be inconsistent with the glory of the Son of God. They also thought it improbable that the promises to the Jews would be annulled by their own leaders. There are two faults about this debate of greatness: 1) they laid aside the warfare to which they had been called; 2) instead of helping each other through the grief to come, they sought to excel each other out of ambition. Greatness is achieved in humility, and the symbol of humility is a child. It is not that children are not totally innocent (1 Cor. 14:20). But children do not pursue worldly ambition with such focus and zeal. A person is truly humble who does not claim any personal merit in God's sight, nor proudly despises the brethren or aims at being superior to them; but reckons it enough that they are one fo the members of Christ and desires nothing more than that the Head alone be exalted.