“Jesus teaches about greatness” by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld, 1860 (from here (en.wikipedia.org))

Mark 9:30-41 New American Standard Bible

30 And from there they went out and began to go through Galilee, and He did not want anyone to know about it31 For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be [a]handed over to men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” 32 But they [b]did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.

33 They came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them: “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest. 35 And sitting down, He called the twelve and *said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And He took a child and placed him among them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, 37 “Whoever [c]receives [d]one child like this in My name [e]receives Me; and whoever [f]receives Me does not [g]receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40 For the one who is not against us is [h]for us. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink [i]because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.

I listened to Renewing Your Mind | Who Is the Greatest? | Dec 27, 2020 yesterday, and I decided to share a few observations.

What was Renewing Your Mind | Who Is the Greatest? | Dec 27, 2020 about? It is an explanation of the verses above by R.C. Sproul, Founder | Ligonier Ministries, part of a series on the Book of Mark.

How are these verses — these three passages — related? They sure don’t seem to be, do they? Why not? Try listening to an audio recording. Then it becomes obvious. The Book of Mark moves along at light speed, almost without transition.

Consider just the verses above. Together they form three passages. In the first we see Jesus telling His disciples that the Father is handing Him over to be killed by evil men. In the next Jesus sits His disciples down with Him and quietly explains the meaning of true greatness. Then, still moving along swiftly, John tells Jesus about a man who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus. How can all these little vignettes be related?

The entire Bible is about Jesus. So are these three passages. In the first Jesus was preparing His disciples for His death, the sacrifice He would make on our behalf. In the second passage Jesus explains a great truth, that to be first among men, we must be like Jesus, the greatest servant among men. In the last passage Jesus reminds His disciples that it is Him we must follow, not one or more of His disciples.

All three passages help explain the need for humility. In the first Jesus provides an example. He is obeying His Father even unto death. In the second passage, because of their pride, Jesus’ apostles have embarrassed themselves. In the presence of the Christ — after He has told them of the fact He must die — they have been arguing over which of them is the greatest. In the third Jesus explains to His disciples that “following us” is not important. The test of a follower of Jesus is that that follower is following Jesus and glorifying His name, not the name of a particular church or denomination.

How do we follow Jesus? Unlike the apostles, we have don’t have Jesus to teach us. Instead, we have the Bible, and we have Bible teachers to helps us understand the Bible. Who should we go to for Bible instruction? Is there a test? Yes. We have to read the Bible.

Doctrine is important. Therefore, in order to test our teachers and to make certain we are going to a church that is following Jesus, we need to study the Bible. After all, the Bible is a sizable book because we are suppose to learn from it. If you are not studying the Bible, there is no time like the present to start.

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