Mark 9:33 – 35: The king of the castle.

“33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.  35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” NIV UK

You have to see the incongruity don’t you? Jesus had just spoken about His death, and they were arguing among themselves about who was ‘’the greatest’’. Although their understanding was hazy, they understood enough to keep quiet about their conversation ‘’on the way’’ (34). The voice of conscience, I believe, told them this was not right. But they could not hide their hearts from Jesus. We never can.

Probably, the most serious problems in churches arise because of selfish ambition. It may be heavily disguised, but eventually it shows itself. Somebody wants to be ‘king of the castle.’ But someone else has her eyes on that job, and it leads to a right, royal (and undignified) battle.

‘’What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight’’ (James 4:1,2).

It remains the case that the most senior position on offer in Christ’s Kingdom is that of a ‘’servant’’ (35). Any takers?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, as you came to serve, rather than to be served, so may I have your ‘mind’ transplanted into me (Philippians 2:1-11).