Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Sep 13, 2012 | Comments (0)

Pentecost XVII Bottom Line Spirituality:Worldly and Godly Thinking

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Pentecost 17

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Mark 9:30-37. “They argued with one another over who was the greatest."

This parable is the difference between what you think rationally and how you think spiritually.

Rational understanding looks at the written seen.

Spiritual understanding looks for written unseen.

Rational understanding looks at the main characters. They include Jesus and the disciples who argue over who is the greatest. Jesus then teaches them and us about humility and how to receive and serve little children.

The spiritually unseen is to look at the big picture.

In the Gospel lesson, Jesus is teaching the disciples along the way to Capernaum. He tells them the Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.

What is your rational understanding of who the disciples were? Many see them as loving, caring, and reverent towards their Messiah, the Christ, and The Son of the Living God. And yet, on hearing of His death they argued with one another over who was to be the greatest.

The question to ask is, why every time Jesus told them of His death they argued who would be the greatest? That is, who is going to lead this band after He goes?

If these were men dedicated to Jesus they may have understood what He was telling them. It sounds as if they did not love or care for him. Not so. It is certain they did. However, there was something they cared about more than just being a caring and loving follower. What was their agenda?

They did not understand what he was saying because they were too concerned about their own aims and objectives.

They were afraid to ask him because He might not agree with their own mission.

We may never know, but Jesus certainly did. He made it clear that He knew what they were thinking. Whether these men had the Zealot way of thinking or not, Jesus spoke directly to it.

"Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." The Zealots felt they were more holy than anyone else.  Children were not considered to be part of the Covenant, "Bar Mitzvah" (Hebrew: בר מצוה‎)   According to Jewish law when Jewish boys become a Bar Mitzvah they are able to participate in all adult areas of Jewish Covenant life.

Jesus is teaching them about the difference between the Law and Grace. "Whoever takes one such a child in my name takes me. Whoever takes me takes not me but the One who sent me." The law is exclusive and conditional. Grace is unconditional and inclusive.

The agenda was not as important as the One who sent Jesus. Sometimes our agenda is more important than the grace of Jesus Christ. Ask yourself what difference being in or out of His Presence of His Love and Peace would make next time when you find you are conflicted by your decision.


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