"And He came to Capernaum: and being in the house He asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."
Yesterday: Jesus’ Response to their Sin of Pride
“And He came to Capernaum.”
“And being in the house, He asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?”
Jesus already knew, but He wanted the men to acknowledge their failure.
“But they held their peace.”
They were each shamed by their foolish pride.
“For by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.”
Jesus showed them that true greatness puts on a towel and washes others’ dirty feet.
Today: Jesus, Who is First, Made Himself Last
“And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them.”
What Jesus was going to teach them is of vital importance to each of them. Those not understanding their culture might miss this, “Jesus sat down.”
“When a Rabbi was teaching as a Rabbi, as a master teaches his scholars and disciples when he was really making a pronouncement, he sat to teach. Jesus deliberately took up the position of a Rabbi teaching his pupils before he spoke” (Barclay).
If they miss this essential lesson, they will be rendered useless in God’s service.
“If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all and servant of all.”
It should have been evident to each of His men that Jesus is the greatest of all, and no one can compare with Him. And yet, this One who is in the first place has put Himself in the last place. He has picked up the towel as the servant of all, putting Himself in the last position. His example is for His disciples and for us.
Jesus showed them that our world considers the man great who has the most servants caring for him.
“But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them” (Matthew 20:25).
The “great man” is the one who can tell others what to do! So, the man who has the most people obeying him must be the greatest of all men! This goal and capability are sought after by many people in our world today. But Jesus changes that image for His children.
“But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:26-27).
The way to be great in God’s economy is to be the one who ministers to others, being their servant! Jesus, who is the greatest of all, put this to practice in His life and ministry here. He is the perfect example of what we call “servant-leadership.”
“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).
He exhibited this kind of self-denying, self-giving character in ways that no one else could possibly do it. To say He is our example is an understatement, for He is so much more to us.
To illustrate the principle of servanthood He was teaching, Jesus used a little child as His example. It is that child-like, unassuming humility that Jesus is looking for in His servants.
“Jesus draws their attention to His nature by presenting a child as an example. In that day, children were regarded more as property than individuals. It was understood that they were to be seen and not heard. Jesus says that the way we receive people regarded like children shows how we would receive Him (whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me)” (Guzik).
His words that day had a profound influence on His twelve. Believers, if we are going to overcome the “pride of life” in our hearts, it will be with Jesus’ help, as we sit at His feet, humbly learning from Him. “Lord, give us that child-like faith mingled with their kind of humility, that we may serve You well!”
Quote: “And they brought young children to Him, that He should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16).
 Barclay’s quote is from Enduring Word Commentary, the electronic version in eSword. Mark 9:35-37.
 Enduring Word Commentary, the electronic version in eSword. Mark 9:35-37.