Heavenly Father, thank You for Your patience with us. Let us be consumed with Your story and celebrate Your love, in Jesus’ name, Amen
Mark 9: 30-50
VV 30-34, ‘’30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. 33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.’’
Jesus predicted His death and resurrection but the disciples did not understand and dared ask the Lord for clarification. When they returned to Peter’s house in Capernaum, Jesus asked them what they were arguing over. They kept quiet because they were arguing who would be the greatest in the kingdom.
VV 35-37, 35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” 36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 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.”
Jesus told the 12 disciples that the greatest in the kingdom will be the lowest of all. The first will become the last. There was a reversal in the kingdom hierarchy. The Greek word for little child is ‘’ paidion’’, which means toddler. Jesus used a toddler as an example of discipleship. Unlike an adult, a toddler is simple. innocent, teachable, and did not have baggage. Jesus was looking for people with child-like faith. Jesus touched the toddler, leper, blind man, and the epileptic child. Jesus walked among the people, to love, touch, heal, show mercy, kindness, and compassion. He touched our life when He died on the cross and rose from the dead. A touch can make a difference in someone’s life. Whoever welcomes a child, welcomes Jesus, whoever welcomes Jesus, welcomes God.
VV 38-41, ‘’38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.’’
Jesus did not prohibit anyone from casting out demons in His name. Acts 19: 13-16, the seven sons of Sceva invoked Jesus’ name to cast out demons but were attacked by the demons, ‘’Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.’’
V 42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.’’
The Greek word for stumble is ”scandalazo” from which the English word scandal is derived. Jesus warned against causing new believers to stumble, otherwise, we would be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around our neck. We must undermine the fragile faith of young believers. We must not mislead them with wrong teachings. We should be a good role model for them.
VV 43-48, 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’’
These verses must never be interpreted literarily. It is not about chopping off hands and feet or gouging out eyes. The eye represents what we see, the hand represents what we do, the foot represents where we go. We must walk away from things that we must not see, things that we must not do, and places that we must not go. It is better to enter heaven maimed rather than be thrown into hell.
VV 49-50, 49 Everyone will be salted with fire. 50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
Salt gives taste and preserves food. Salt that is not salty is useless. We must live according to God’s purpose and be a preservative to this decaying world. We must live in peace with others.
Heavenly Father, we pray that You will give us a simple child-like faith, be salt and light to the world, and touch people with kindness, compassion, and love, in Jesus’ name, Amen.