Mark 9: 30 – 37 Jesus predicts his death a second time

Mark 9: 30 – 37 Jesus predicts his death a second time

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

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

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’

He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘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.’

*       *       *

“He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.’ But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.”

It’s hard to imagine this scene. Jesus knew that the time was fast approaching when he was going to die. He was going to be executed as a criminal in a horrible fashion, in public, and everyone would mock him as a failure. As Jesus was fully human, this must have been a terrifying prospect. He knew that he was to be raised from the dead, of course, but even so…

Jesus tried to explain this to the disciples and they simply couldn’t take it in.

They had seen Jesus perform miracles, and they were well on the way towards believing he was the Messiah. The trouble was, they had the wrong image of what the Messiah would be like. They saw him as a leader who would restore Israel and rule over it in glory. So when Jesus talked about his death, the disciples didn’t understand. How could a man who can miraculously feed 5000 people be put to death? How could a man who can calm a storm be put to death?

They didn’t ask Jesus to explain. Instead, they went back to the image with which they were comfortable; Jesus the wonder worker, the natural leader of men, the great king. And, of course, a great king appoints assistants who become princes themselves. Which of the disciples was going to be the greatest in Jesus’ kingdom? They argued about it – but when Jesus asked them ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ they remained silent.

Despite the disciples’ silence, Jesus knew perfectly well what they had been discussing. He used their failure to understand, and their failure to ask him to explain his teaching about his death, as an opportunity to teach them a very important lesson.

He told them, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ And he showed them a little child and said, ‘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.’ He was saying, ‘Act as though you were the servant of a small child.’

The child in Jesus’ story stands for all those who are weak and helpless. Jesus is saying that we should welcome those who are weak; when we do, we are welcoming Jesus himself; indeed, we are welcoming God himself.

And that takes us back to the beginning.

“He said to them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.’

Jesus allowed the Romans to crucify him.  By doing so, he identifies with all those who are weak and helpless. Children, certainly, but also victims of political oppression, of war, of genocide; all refugees. Jesus stands with all of these. He loves all of them, and teaches us, as he taught the disciples, that we must welcome them in his name if we want to do his will.

This is the love that Jesus showed, the love that will ultimately defeat evil, the love that will make perfect the kingdom of God.

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for teaching me today. Thank you for Jesus’ love for all humanity; thank you for his love for me. There are many things I don’t understand. Please teach me as I become able to understand.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: