Mark 9:35b “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (NASB)
It is amazing how ridiculous we can be sometimes, even to the point of distorting the message of the gospel to something that it is not. Take for instance the disciples. Just before Jesus makes this statement to them in response to his knowing that they had been talking about who amongst themselves was greatest (v.34), the disciples had witnessed several miraculous signs and wonders. In chapter eight, the disciples witnessed the feeding of the four thousand, and in the beginning of chapter nine, we see the transfiguration, and even after that the disciples witness the power of Christ over demonic possession (9:14-29). Yet, we see the disciples reverting back to their usual selves, enamored with self-glorification and arguing about who is the greatest.
The same occurs in our culture today, even within the church! Oh how we long for the days for the Spirit of God to reign down on us to fill us with power and peace. We experience the grace and peace of God in our worship and in our lives, bringing praise to Almighty God. Yet, we continue to revert inward, making the gospel about ourselves and in a sense, begin to argue about who among us is greatest. Who has the most education?, who is the most experienced?, who is the strongest? We even take this to the extremes when it comes to Spiritual Gifts. I have experienced times when people would debate on the amount of gifting they had as compared to someone else, a sort of one-upping if you will. This sounds strangely familiar to what Paul encountered in the Corinthian church and in 1 Corinthians 12:7, Paul reminds them that every believer has been given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For me, this seems to mean that selfish ambition needs to be thrown out the window.
The challenge to be “…last of all, and servant of all” is no small feat, and requires great discipline. I believe the Christian life is a process, yet we are given the opportunities to engage in holy living even now as we are in the already, not yet nature of the kingdom of God. Thank God for the gift of the Incarnation, the gift of the Son, fully human and fully divine, that in Him we have the ultimate example of holy living and sacrifice. Amen.
Grace and Peace,