32 “But no one knows about that day or hour. Not even the angels in heaven know. The Son does not know. Only the Father knows. 33 Keep watch! Stay awake! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away. He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge. Each one is given a task to do. He tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 “So keep watch! You do not know when the owner of the house will come back. It may be in the evening or at midnight. It may be when the rooster crows or at dawn. 36 He may come suddenly. So do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone. ‘Watch!’ ”
Jesus asks his disciples what they have been discussing and like a group of naughty children they go silent. They know they should not have been arguing over who is the greatest among them. They, I assume, feel ashamed for their ridiculous conversation. Ever had one of those? A ridiculous conversation where your pride really comes out, and you feel ashamed or embarrassed shortly afterwards, as you think about what you actually said?
The disciples don’t appear to answer Jesus. But Jesus, the Son of God knows. He doesn’t scold them for their conversation or behaviour, he simply makes 2 statements to answer the question, who is the greatest.
- Jesus says If anyone wants to be first then they should be last and a servant of all.
- Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes me and the one who sent me.
Jesus makes mute all their arguments. He shows them the radical nature of God’s kingdom values. What God values is totally different. He shows them that they need to give up; wanting to be best, to be first, to be noticed, to be served. And to start thinking of others before themselves. In this first statement he also subtly points out that He is the greatest. He is the only human who has served all people. He is the servant of all.
Why the second statement? Why welcome a child? Because in the ancient world a child was not highly valued. A relationship with a child definitely did not get you status. Jesus is saying, to be great, love people, all people, no matter who they are. Welcome the “nobodies” and I will welcome you and so will my father. It’s about relationship – serving and loving. Putting others first, for their sake, not our own.
Jesus thank you for forgiving my pride. And for taking away my shame. Thank you for your reminder today of your kingdom values. Thank you that you are the servant of all. Help me to love and serve others out of a grateful heart. Help me to be more like you.
Written by Zoe Stewart