This is a continuation of the Devo-Commentary I'm working on for my students on the book of Mark. Thoughts are welcome!
Jesus was teaching them, telling them that the Bible (the Old Testament), says that the Son of Man—the Messiah—was going to the cross and then be raised from the dead. Mark says the disciples didn’t understand, which is really obvious, the next thing you find them doing is arguing about which one of them is the greatest, which one has the best stats.
This makes sense to us. Whether video games, football, looks or smarts high-schoolers—and all everyone really—want to be on top. We want to be the best. It makes us feel good about ourselves; it makes us feel loved. Over the years I’ve come to see that underneath all of our posing, flexing and comparing, is a desire to be accepted—to be loved. Acceptance is hard to come by, that’s why we feel like we have to look a certain way, be good at a certain sport, have massive brains, etc.—we’ve been taught by the world that acceptance is based on our ability to perform. Think about it, that’s how it works at school (you’re accepted on the Honors Society if you perform), that’s how it works in sports (you make varsity if you perform), that’s how it works at your job—if you got one. The disciples, like us, want to be accepted by Jesus but they have a twisted way of going about it.
Jesus hears about it and pulls a kid up and says, “You want to be cool… well hang out with this little snot nosed whiner. The way I do life is centered not around being first—posing on stage—it’s about being last, a servant to everyone!”
How can Jesus say something like this? He turns pride upside down, why? Because he knows that acceptance isn’t based on shoving your way to front of the line, it’s not based posing. It is based on the pose that Christ took on the cross though. You’re accepted—what you’ve always wanted—not because you proved that you’re the best it’s because Christ became the least on the cross and made a way for us to connect with the Creator of all things!
Because He’s accepted you, you’re free to not be concerned about shoving your way to the front of the line… let someone else go! Instead of playing shotgun, play not-gun and sit in back. You don’t have to posture and pose to pretend you’re the best, you’re already accepted! You’re accepted into something more important and foundational than the ‘cool’ group… you’re accepted into God’s arms!
Think about all the ways the world tries to thrust itself into first place. Knowing that you’re accepted how can you practice humility? How can you turn pride upside down?