The Lord has a kind way of invading the “dumb space” we create when we dumb down. We dumb down when we are caught in our dumbness. It happened in the gospels and still happens today. In Mark 9:32ff, “and when he was in the house and there was no outside noise and distraction he asked, “What were you discussing on the way?” “Who me? Do you mean us? Huh?” Hearing trouble. In this setting, there is no chance that every word, every answer, every question and every motive will not be heard and seen by those present.
“But they kept silent” and who wouldn’t? They were into their own self-importance and were acting very immature, like children quarreling over a toy. These are the great apostles of tomorrow, but this day they were silent with ear trouble. “For on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.” When our heads are swelling with high estimation of ourselves, it always causes our ears to swell closed as well. They were deciding who would be called bishop this, and apostle that, and reverend so-and-so, and elder whoever, prophet to the nations, and president of the board, and pastor Big Robe and this is stopped abruptly by the loving Shepherd.
“Sitting down, he called the twelve and said to them, “if anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” “He called the twelve” and we must see this is really a re-call. Let’s start all over and get this thing straight. Ears are getting opened and aided.
We are just as turned off and repelled by what they resisted: The counsel of humility. The idea of humility is cutting across our every desire to “be somebody” and “get some respect.” Who has ever heard of a “kingdom of serving?” We are prone to discuss who is the greatest in the kingdom and Jesus must always turn things right-side-up and show us the real kingdom: “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Humility at this level is not natural or desirable, but necessary. And it really causes bad hearing.
“Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Jesus