There are times when some of the more well-known things that Jesus said become plaques. The words get torn from their context, decoupaged to a piece of plywood, and hammered onto a wall.
I’ve done it. Maybe you have, too.
This morning, some study time in the Word forced me to yank the plaque off the wall.
The oh-so-familiar verse?
Mark 9:35 –“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Though it’s pretty obvious that Jesus speaks these words to his disciples when none of them will answer his question about why they’d been bickering on as they traveled to Capernaum earlier that day, I’d never noticed what may have led to the dispute about who was greatest among them. It’s easy to imagine these young men reverting to playground tactics as they bickered:
“I am more important than you are!”
“No way, dude!”
*shove* *push* *jostle*
But today it hit me that the context for this mature, unselfish debate on the part of the disciples came in the wake of their very public failure to be able to do what Jesus had empowered them to do (You can read the account here.)
What I do when I’ve experienced a little humiliation? I try to jack up my ego as quickly as I can, even if it means I have to put my ego jack on someone else’s back. The disciples’ debate – and Jesus’ silencing words – turned that plaque into a mirror rimmed in grace this morning.
Jesus’ balm for the disciples’ wounded egos? Drop the jack. Go lower still.
Just like he did.