Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Tuesday after the Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on October 30, 2018 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Mark 9:33-50 (NKJV)
9:33 Then He came to Capernaum. And when He was in the house He asked them, “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest.
35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
36 Then He took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, He said to them, 37 Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.”
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
42 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—44 where
‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
45 “And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—46 where
‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
47 “And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire—48 where
‘Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’
49 “For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.
50 “Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”
The disciples in our Gospel reading were thinking about how many people would be under them serving them. Jesus tells them that that is the wrong model entirely.
Jesus takes a little child, someone with absolutely no power or honor, and tells His disciples how to obtain greatness. He essentially tells them to put themselves under this child, to take a position of servant-hood toward someone who has no rank whatsoever. Would the disciples greet and welcome a child who should be greeting and welcoming them? Would the disciples do that to this child for Jesus, and as if he were Jesus? That is the way to greatness.
In Christ’s kingdom everything is turned upside down. The servant is the greatest. The one who is served is the least. Power is turned on its head. In Christ’s kingdom the King must die, dying as a service to His subjects. How different that is from the governments of this world where people jockey for power! In Jesus’ kingdom He serves us. He serves us ultimately by dying for us.
Jesus serves little children and old men. He serves strong and weak; those who have positions of power, and those who do not. He holds nothing back in His service, He gives it all. He, who is greater and most worthy of all service, puts Himself below everyone in order to serve them. And He does this so that they might live. Service to others is ultimately dying to yourself. Giving up money, time, opportunities; giving up your desires, and even your life for others and for God is service.
We pray: Lord, help us imitate Your leadership. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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