Text: Mark 9:30-41
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 over to human hands. He will be killed, 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.”
What if Jesus was everything?
Ever the patient teacher, Jesus took time to stop, even on the road to his crucifixion, to give his disciples a lesson. The disciples were dense… and Jesus was painfully aware of it. How frustrating it must have been to teach them over and over again, only to have them argue about which one was the ‘favorite.’ But I believe there must have been a part of Jesus that got a laugh out of the disciples’ awkward spiritual growing-pains.
Some part of the identity of Christ must’ve contained his fatherly view of these boys who were plodding along through the countryside with him. Something about him must’ve looked at them as they teased one another and thought, “You boys are ridiculous, and I love you more than you’ll ever realize.” Sure they must’ve gotten annoying at times, but I bet he loved watching them “grow up” and mature into relationship with him.
I think this is why he showed them his love for the children. It was as if he was saying, “Boys… what if I was everything?” “What if you stopped bickering about who I love and started remembering what it’s like to love without boundaries, prejudices, conditions, or restraint?… What if all you really wanted, was your Father?” “What if just knowing me… was everything?”
The road to Jerusalem must have been a long and heart-wrenching one for Jesus, and he needed them to know why they were walking it. He wasn’t walking towards a throne. He was walking towards a cross.
It’s not about me or my desires… It’s about submission. It’s about dependence.
To be like children, we must remember that we don’t depend on our bank accounts, reliable sedans, neighborhood watch, job security, romances, report cards, or retirement plans. We depend on our Father, Guardian, and Protector; The one who formed us and breathed life into our lungs.
Lent is a falling back into dependence, and a time to remember that we are but children in the arms of a loving and providing Father.
May we trade our earthly maturity for a spiritual one… one that makes us young again.