That's Just Great!
And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Me first! Myself second! and if there’s anything left, I’ll take it! Welcome to the world of “it’s all about me.” It doesn’t take long to see that the way of the world is our way as well. Listen to yourself when you talk. See how many times you say “I, me, or myself.” Or how about, “I think that...” It’s a dead giveaway that we are not talking about a problem in the sinful world, but about you and me. Sin has infected us with the “I-me” disease! “ We want to be the greatest, just like the disciples. It is so much a part of us that we don’t even realize it. But Jesus shows us a better way.
Jesus Shows the Way
Jesus Shows the Way
For the second time in Mark, Jesus speaks of His purpose. He has come to die. More specifically, to “be killed”. Those after him would ultimately get their way. Several traps have been set, several opportunities have presented themselves to give those who hated Jesus— the Pharisees and Scribes— ammunition to begin their conspiracy against Him. Of course, Jesus always knew why He came to earth. To be one of us. To experience life as we do. But then to keep God’s law perfectly for you and me, giving us His righteousness. Even in the midst of the plots, Jesus does not stoop to their level and sin. And then, He knows He came to die. To be killed.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
This speaks of what we call the “doctrine of kenosis”— the Greek word that means “to empty”. Jesus empties Himself, that is puts God’s will and your well being before Himself. He becomes obedient to the Father’s will even to death, the death on a cross. This is why He came. To be killed. Because of you. Because of Me. For you. For me. He is facing that cross right now. He’s not there yet, but it’s coming. And He fixes His eyes on Jerusalem despite what the cross means: Suffering hell for you. Suffering death for you. Charting the way through death for you that leads to heaven. Such love and grace! This is why we worship Him!
This speaks of what we call the “doctrine of kenosis”— the Greek word that means “to empty”. Jesus empties Himself, that is He becomes obedient to the Father’s will even to death, the death on a cross. This is why He came. To be killed. Because of you. Because of Me. For you. For me. He is facing that cross right now. He’s not there yet, but it’s coming. And He fixes His eyes on Jerusalem despite what the cross means: Suffering hell for you. Suffering death for you. Charting the way through death for you that leads to heaven.
Jesus Shows Where it Leads
Jesus Shows Where it Leads
He’s not done talking to the Disciples In the same breath Jesus tells them that after three days He will rise. Come back from hell, come back from death, conquering them both, and guaranteeing that the water of baptism that has granted you faith in Jesus Christ will bring you with Him through His death and yours, into His glorious resurrection.
Jesus life screams, “it’s all about YOU.”
The disciples do not comprehend this.
But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Jesus, talking about dying again. Like He did right after Peter confessed Him to be the Christ- when Peter rebuked Him and told Him that this should never be and Jesus told him to shut up, and called him Satan. Right after Jesus told them
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
They’d rather not talk about this. The last time they did they got in trouble.
What do they do? While on that road to Capernaum the disciples argued. Instead of denying themselves, taking up their crosses and following Jesus, they take up their own names, their own egos, and they get into a dispute about which one of them is the greatest. What do you know? They look at life like we do! It’s all about ME!
Not only do they not want to talk about what Jesus had just told them, but they disregarded everything that Jesus had said. If you’re keeping score, that is strike two against you and me as well.
They did this a lot. Remember the conversation between Jesus and the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John?
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
… and all of the other times? Not only were they inept, but they kept doing this! They didn’t get it. Oh, they would, but it would take Jesus’ death and resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and their own deaths or banishment before the jewel could be hewn out of the dross.
Jesus says to them and to you today:
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
Jesus isn’t acting like Emily Post here, trying to explain proper etiquette, he’s not instructing the disciples in polite behavior. Those things come as fruits from the Holy Spirit. Gentleness is important. But it is not what Jesus is talking about.
We are in a war. The old Adam within is the god of self-love. No one ever has to be taught to be selfish. Even babies know how to be selfish. No one has to teach us “it’s all about me”. We always assume that it is. But what of me? Can I save myself? Am I great enough to do that? On the Last Day can I go before the throne of Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead, and say to Him, “Look at me!”? Got news for you, you’re in for a hot eternity if you think so.
James tells us in our Epistle:
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
What is Jesus teaching them here? Kenosis. Dying to yourself. You can’t do this— you have to be killed. So Baptism does the job. It drowns out the old Adam. We return to that water every single day as we confess our sins before God and die anew. Lord, forgive me for the I-Me disease. Forgive me for putting myself in place of you. Let me follow you. Kill me and raise me up. Empty me of my pride, of my self-centeredness, my sin and fill me with Yourself. Let your Holy Word, and not my own thoughts or opinions, form my world view. Re-ignite my love for You and for my neighbor, putting their needs before mine. Let me see in every person— including those who hate me, or whom I hate— a child for whom You, Lord Jesus, became a servant. And let me seek your Will alone. Kenosis.
If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.