Mk. 9:30-32-Jesus begins to expand on His teaching about His death and resurrection…the disciples didn’t understand but were afraid to ask Him about it. Perhaps because of His recent rebuke of Peter (even though Peter did not just ask a question, but tried to influence His thinking).
Mk. 9:33-41-Jesus teaches about not hindering people coming to Him and involvement in His ministry. It is a ministry ofservice that includes many different works, areas, and people. No work is so small that it goes unnoticed (everything counts). Do not hinder them, no matter their age, their effort, the size of their contribution.
Mk. 9:33-37-They return to Capernaum. Along the way there the disciples had been discussing which of them was the greatest. Jesus asks them what they had been talking about, but they seemed to have been ashamed to tell Him. No need, though, Jesus knew. So, He tells them that to be “first”, you must be “last of all, and servant of all”. He then illustrates this principle by picking up a child in His arms to show that we must be a servant to even the smallest, the least. When we receive them, we are receiving the Father.
Mk. 9:38-40-John tells him that they tried to stop a man who was “casting out demons in Your name” because he was not following “us”. We might initially wonder about John’s use of”us”, instead of just Jesus. However, Jesus responds by including them in His ministry. He says that no one will be able to do such things…and then turn around and “speak evil of Me”. He then says, “For he who is not against us is for us.” He uses “us”…including them in His mission. Jesus also identifies Himself as being the Christ (Messiah)…and says that no matter how small the effort, or contribution may seem when it is given to His work…it will be blessed with a reward.
Mk. 9:42-50-Jesus teaches about hindering people from coming to Him.
Mk. 9:42-48-The consequences for hindering people who come to Him are excruciatingly painful and eternal. Concerning cutting off your hand, or foot, and gouging out your eye: cf. January 25, Matthew 18:7-9.
Mk. 9:49-50-Jesus tells the disciples, “everyone will be salted with fire,” and to, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” This could be a reference to their discussion of who was the greatest. Fire purifies and salt preserves. He was telling them to cleanse their motives and ambitions so that they are pure from selfish interests through the purification of fire…and to keep them so through the preserving of salt.
Prayer: Lord, sometimes I don’t recognize the contributions that others are making to Your Kingdom. I want other people to agree with me and my agenda…and don’t give them grace to be following You in the way that You have led them. Please forgive me. Help me to see You at work through them…and to encourage and assist them in whatever ways You would lead me. Help me to be a peace maker among Your followers.