Who Wants To Be First?


Date: September 23, 2018

In our reading from Mark’s gospel this week we find the disciples arguing about which one of them is the greatest. The culture that they have been apart of has moulded them to be this way. They only understand relationships in terms of hierarchy based on class, gender and age. But they’ve been hanging around Jesus long enough to know that Jesus is thoroughly countercultural. And so the disciples lapse into embarrassed silence when Jesus asks them about the content of their argument.

The disciples expect something countercultural and that’s exactly what Jesus gives them: “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” To illustrate the revolutionary nature of this statement, Jesus brings a small child and places the child among the disciples – not before them or after them, but among them. “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”.

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