"What were you arguing along the way? They remained silent, because on the road they had discussed among themselves who was the most important. "Mr. 9: 33-34
Jesus foretells his death for the first time in Mr. 8:31 to 38. The text says: I speak of this very clearly (8:32). Then Jesus foretells his death a second time in Mr. 9: 31-32: "The Son of man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will be resurrected. But they did not understand what he meant by this, and they did not dare to ask him. "But then … What are the disciples talking about? Its theme is: Who is the most important?
Jesus asks them what they discussed and they remain silent: Why? Would they be afraid to ask? Were you ashamed? What was happening? It seems that there are personal ambitions and these are more important than the Lord himself. They show a follow-up appearance but behind this a triumphalist ideology reigns. Suffering and rejection have no place in the messianic conception of the disciples. It seems inconceivable and a terrible mistake. It does not fit into your theology.
What was Jesus' response?
He elaborated a dramatized parable. "Then Jesus sat down, called the twelve and told them:
If anyone wants to be the first, that is the last of all and the servant of all "Mr.
9: 35-36. Then: He took a child and put him in their midst. "Hugging him, he told them:
Whoever receives one of these children in my name, receives me; and he who receives me does not receive me but him who sent me "Mr. 9:37.
The location of the child in the middle of the group describes his way of thinking. I hug him. Jesus' teaching is centered on two movements: sitting and embracing. Jesus sits and teaches. Jesus takes a child and hugs him. He does not discard his disciples. In these two movements Jesus shows the patience he has with us and reminds us how our service attitude should be: do nothing for selfishness or vanity, be humble considering others, watch not only for my own interests but also for the interests from others, to serve them, to love, to embrace others, to receive them and to provide opportunities.
The Lord is presenting a model that has to do with simplicity, humility and smallness. Jesus Christ presents us with a model that shows who is the one sent by God. It is this person-child.
Later on, the biblical passage tells us: "They began to bring children to Jesus to touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who carried them. When Jesus noticed, he was outraged … "Mr. 10: 13-14. Jewish culture did not appreciate children. They typified immaturity and ignorance. They did not appreciate his innocence and potential. Taking care of them was a waste of time. The disciples rebuked those who had brought the children to Jesus. They respond according to their culture and mentality. Jesus shows his humanity: He is outraged.
Mt. 18: 3-4 tells us about the humility model in the community of the kingdom and the need to change to belong to it: "I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. " Mr. 10:15 speaks of receiving the Kingdom of God as a child: "I assure you that whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a child will not enter it in any way." Highlight the dignity of the child and simplicity at the time of entering the kingdom. Lc. 9:48 says: "The one who is most insignificant among you all, that is the most important"
The kingdom of God belongs to children because they receive it as a gift and not as a reward for some effort. For the religious of that time the kingdom of God consisted in the fulfillment of the law. Simplicity, humility and smallness were not part of their lifestyle. These last values described should be the practical manifestation of the community of Faith, which reminds us of what Jesus had already taught them in Mr. 8:34:
Denying oneself: Means a resounding renunciation of their interests. Renounce selfishness. Carrying the cross: It is accepting the conditions. Obedience to the Master to the ultimate consequences. Follow it: The ultimate end may be martyrdom.
Jesus highlights in the dignity of the child, the model of the kingdom and its ideology: Be simple, humble and servant of all.
"And after embracing them, he blessed them by putting their hands on them" Mr. 10:16
Jesus does not let himself be carried away by the prejudices of culture. Take the children in your arms.
The Lord takes in his arms those who still do not have much understanding of things.
This message is for adults. Jesus does not correct ideas but values and behavior contrary to the kingdom. Not taking children into account also means ignoring the weak and unprotected.
Surely the ecclesial communities of that time could have the same problems we have today. How to manage "power" in our social ecclesial relationships? Children remind us of what we were before we got to what we are now. Sometimes we are arrogant and too confident in ourselves.
Following Jesus implies not being detained in our way of privatizing the mission. The mission has no owner and is not private renta. The mission is of God and we are only instruments where we are invited to participate in it.
Marcos gives the antidote and the answer to the problem. We must Repent and Change. Feel pain and shame. Receive the kingdom of God as a child. Become small, humble and simple. The child does not pretend to have conquered strongly what he receives or to do it by merit, pressure, fear, etc. It is grace. He knows himself dependent on others. Nor are our forces what allow us to conquer the kingdom of God.
What do I think and feel when I understand that I must become humble, simple and small? Are others a threat to me? Why? What does it mean to receive them, embrace them and bless them? What can we do to return to what the Lord wants us to be? Are we willing to be simple, humble and small servants?
Does our model have to do with triumphalism, status, strength, power, results and self-sufficiency? What should be evident in our lives when we serve in the church and community or when we are going to serve among less evangelized peoples? How is our way of acting when we are going to serve in another culture and ethnic group?
Author: Carlos Scott
Carlos is a member of the executive committee and entero leadership council of the Missions Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), Resides in Buenos Aires.
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