Summary: A sermon on greatness how God sees it. Jesus takes a little child and demonstrates to his disciples how to live in light of eternity.

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In Mark 9, Jesus is in a house in Capernaum. Sitting around him are his 12 disciples. Perhaps it is Peter’s mother-in-law’s house. Jesus’ gaze rests upon a little child. We do not know who the child is, whether it is a girl or a boy, it maybe is one of Peter’s nieces or nephews.

Little children are often curious about visitors and I imagine this little child lingering around the edge of the group and take some steps toward Jesus. Jesus soon steps forward, takes the child by the hand and place the little child on his lap.

There are interesting circumstances that brought Jesus and his disciples to this place. In the previous chapters, Jesus alongside his public ministry was teaching his disciples. Specifically what Jesus taught them was that he is going to be betrayed, killed, and would rise from the dead on the third day. Jesus’ disciples did not simply understand that.

The disciples had not understood his death because death for God could not be comprehended. Also, in human perspective life is supposed to get better and better as the days go by. When we come to the end of this life there should be some real satisfaction, having every dream materialized.

In reality life does not work that way. There are dreams that people achieve in life but there are disappointments that come. There are sometimes illnesses which come unexpectedly, relationships change, or jobs fall through. There are all kinds of things which develop in life which causes us to halt our course because that is the reality of life. Now Jesus was God. He was after all their Messiah. The throne of David is forever. So the Son of Man to suffer and die just did not compute in their minds.

Later in the first part of Mark 9 Jesus showed Peter, James, and John his glory. Now the disciples are even more confused because there is a suffering death on one side and glory on the other side. Their eyes fixed on the glory. As they travelled an intense conversation developed between the disciples. They tried to move ahead or behind far enough so that Jesus would not overhear their talking but it was a serious conversation. They were talking as to who is the greatest among them now that Jesus is going to die and be glorified.

When Jesus entered this home in Capernaum he asked his disciples, “What was it that you were discussing along the way?” They were quiet. First they did not ask him their doubts about his death, resurrection and glory, now they did not answer him anything. They did not tell because they were embarrassed. They should not have been thinking the kinds of thoughts which had resulted in perhaps a competitive spirit and argument among them.

Jesus knew every word because He is Almighty God. So when his disciples did not respond, Jesus simply began to address it. He did so by calling this sweet little child to him. Jesus seats this little child in his lap and uses this little child as an illustration to them. Mark 9:37 Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.

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