Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

God as the source of hope – Day 7

Hope for the humble

Bible text(s)

35Jesus sat down, called the twelve disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.” 36Then he took a child and made him stand in front of them. He put his arms round him and said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes in my name one of these children, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not only me but also the one who sent me.”

Mark 9:35-37GNBOpen in Bible reader

Jesus had for the second time predicted that he would be killed and that after three days he would rise again. Imagine the consternation of the disciples! Mark records that they did not understand what Jesus meant and were too afraid to ask him (Mark 9:32). Matthew states that the disciples were filled with grief (Matthew 17:23).

However, human nature being what it is, the disciples soon start arguing among themselves about which of them was the greatest. Eventually they asked Jesus. Mark 9:35-37 was his answer.

Imagine this. Jesus takes a little child in his arms and places him in front of the disciples – a child who had no status in the Jewish society of the time.

In Galatians, Paul defines the lack of status of a child in Jewish society: “What I am saying is that as long as an heir is under age, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate” (Galatians 4:1).

By presenting a child to them as a role model, Jesus was demanding that his disciples think out of the box!

The disciples wanted to know which of them was the greatest. Jesus’ answer is that they will never enter the kingdom unless they give up their self-seeking desire to be great and become like little children.

Jesus was giving his disciples a radical lesson in humility. They must have a childlike faith – and so must we!

Little children love their parents without reservation and totally rely on them for their every need. Their parents are the focus of their existence and mean everything to them.

We need to cultivate that same attitude towards our Heavenly Father. The best way to do this is to put Him first in everything and serve others in his name.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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