Friday, September 18, 2015
The disciples preferred to change the subject when Jesus predicted the passion. Three times in Mark Jesus plainly talked about it and this time they chose to argue about who was greater among them, a rather odd response. Just what were they hearing? Jesus followed up with further instruction, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Now that turns things around as it always does. And it didn’t make it any easier for them.
The discussion of who was the greatest came from a lack of understanding along with some fear to ask. The arguing turned out to be a good way to distract from the main thing – the depth of Jesus’ love for the world. Their discussion clearly kept the focus upon themselves and apart from the work going forward. It indicated where they felt most comfortable.
It’s interesting that Jesus asked them what they were arguing about on the way. He understood that their conversation was a window into their fears. When it comes to matters of faith it can be a real challenge to keep the main thing before us. Like the disciples it’s easy to get side tracked by making comparisons and seeking status. Jesus cares about our fears because they can hold us back and hinder our service to the needs of others.
How do we hear the question of Jesus, “What were you arguing about on the way?” And how does the question invite us back to the center? What are the fears in our lives that need to be addressed by the reassurance of God’s love and faithfulness? How are we led into the vibrancy of vocation and the life of discipleship?
You never know where you will be met by grace. Understanding of faith and encouragement to follow can happen in many ways. The life of the church invites us into a journey of listening, sharing and serving. I am reminded in my work that we are connected through a community in mission, always learning, always growing, always grateful.