Mark 9:33-35

Day 16

Mark 9:33-35 NLT

After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?”  But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.  He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

Keeping these questions before us as we dig deeper:


The Kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom.  We look for the greatest,  God shows us that the way there is through least expected ways.  Pride rises in our hearts, He shows us that pride leads to a fall, and that the valuable way is through humility.   We look for the places of honour.  He teaches us that honour comes after humility, and that humility ushers the way for the king.  Our continual fleshly battle is in opposition to the way God calls us to live.  Something must surrender.  We must.

I find that this battle is very real in my life as well.  Freda’s flesh fights the humble way.  She wants to be great in God’s Kingdom, but she does not often like the way to get there.  She finds that her prideful heart rises up and tries to push to the front often willing to leave others behind.  This is not the way she is called to live.  This verse says, she must be the servant of EVERYONE else. Not something that comes naturally.

I think there needs to be an attitude change here in my life.  I need to have the attitude and mind of Christ and not allow the surrounding influences to define what great is.  I must receive my definition from the one who truly understands great.

I, also, must be willing to change my belief system.  I know what the Word says, but yet I often fight to be great in man’s eyes.  If God’s Word is truth, which it is, then I must believe what Jesus says here.  The way up, is down.  Then I need to adjust my life to this truth if I really believe it.  It means when opportunities for me to look great arise, I need to choose the road my example would choose.

I want to praise God for His mercy and unfailing love.  He lays before me life and death and gives me the freedom to choose.  He lets me decide whether I will be great, whether I will follow His lead.  He shows me the way, then says, ” I will be down this road, if you want to come.”

If you are looking for me, you will find Freda, walking slowly, but with determination down the road less travelled.



  1. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    Just a short little scripture, easy to read, easy to point a finger at those silly disciples and then move on. But when asked to examine this passage and put oneself in it there seems to be an ouch factor.
    Jesu asks a question, that He already knows the answer to and receives no reply. Why? Why no answer, was the conversation something they knew Jesus would be displeased about? I know in my life whether the question is asked by a friend or God I won’t answer it if I think it will cause controversy or if I think I won’t like what they have to say about my answer. Sometimes it is easier to be quiet and let them answer their own question. And that is what Jesus does.
    Did Jesus really have to point out the answer? Or did they already know because they had a first class example in their mist of how to be the greatest. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the hardest one to receive or speak because we really do not want that answer.
    Peter in Mark 8:29 has declared he at least knows Jesus is the Christ. They may not of known about the virgin birth but I am sure they have heard the stories of where the King of kings was born. God borne in a stable, raised by a middle class family. No palace, no silver spoon! Or maybe not! But here they are traveling daily with the Son of God. There is no mansion to return to at night, no yacht to cross the Lake of Galilee in, no horse drawn chariot to go from place to place in. They have to know there could be because He can change water to wine, 5 loaves and 2 fish can feed 5,000 +, lame walk, blind see, deaf hear and mute speak. There is enough money in the purse for Judas to skim what he figures they won’t miss.
    Oh we smile and think not me, yes Lord I know how to be last and servant to all. There is no “I deserve better” or “it is my right” or “if I don’t watch out for me no one will” in my heart. But on further examination have we done what Jesus declares in this scripture with a good attitude or because we know we should. Have we put the smile on our face and the gracious words “Please go ahead” been uttered but in our heart we are grumbling and complaining. How many times have we been willing to serve only to complain later to God that the people are just using us.
    Maybe it is just me but there is a place in me that wishes to be first and to be served at times and even to be thought of as the greatest. It takes the loving voice of the Father to remind me being last has already made me first and people may not see what is done but no act of real servitude goes un-noticed by Him.
    I believe Jesus pointed out to us He knows and sees are true attitudes even when we think we have covered them well with a smile and a kind word.
    Oh Holy Spirit I give You permission to intervene in my thoughts and actions when I allow the worlds ways to over rule what a follower of Jesus should be doing. As David prayed so do I today show me my heart that I might not sin against Thee.

  2. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    Pastor Freda just read your blog and have to smile because I will be coming down that road also I just think my feet might be dragging at times and I may be on my face but it won’t be in humility, more likely a temper tantrum. I am so glad my Daddy loves me so much that He just stands me up brushes my knees off and says “ok let’s try that one again” Don’t you love just love His gracious, loving heart towards His kids?

    • Reply
      Freda says:

      Haha Pat I hear you. I am so grateful that He never leaves us where we are but gently lifts us and leads us on. He really is Enough 🙂
      Loving your feedback!!

  3. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    I have read the book,the Road Less Travelled by Scott Beck. At the time I was reading it, I was coping with severe fatigue and chronic pain of fibromyalgia and I was looking for answers as to how I could continue down this road of pain and fatigue when every step was torture and the needs of myself and my family were being neglected and God seemed so distant. God had allowed this illness to come into my body but I could not understand why when it was such a struggle just to survive one minute at a time. The path of pain and suffering seemed so distant to the one of peace and joy that I had thought the path of following Jesus would be. Over time I have come to realize that God speaks loudest to us in our pain-He uses pain to detach us from the world and the things we are relying on ie our own strength and ability, and to bring our focus and attention back to HIm and all that really matters in life. I thought that I had the servant thing down pat-I went into nursing after all. What could be more servant-like than that?? Plus I was a wife and mother of 3 boys-living with 4 men now is no picnic let me tell you! It involves a tremendous amount of self sacrifice and hard work. Then my Mom became ill in Cape Breton and there was even more added onto my already overfull plate as I tried to support her and my family there. All this time I kept coming back to the Lord with my heavy heart,overworked body and stressed out soul asking for healing,help,answers etc. I tried to leave my burdens with HIm but somehow after I prayed, they would return back on my shoulders and once again I was bowed down with the weight of carrying them. There was no time for me-no energy for me-barely any energy to just exist-I had no more strength and felt powerless to do anything about it. Then over 3 years ago my Mom passed away and I shut down and went into a very dark,lonely place where I was no longer able to function. It was a terrifying place to be-a place I never would have thought I’d ever be. I thought I would be there forever and had lost hope for the future to be anything different than what it was at that time. I was trapped in a cocoon of grief and sorrow-brought to the end of myself ,my strenth and my self-reliance. I come from a family that taught me that strong protestant work ethic- that you work hard,if you fall you get back up and try harder-never give up. Well what do you do when you can’t get back up? Noone ever taught me that part.
    I have learned more the past 4 years than I did in the 51 years before that. I learned about letting go and resting in God’s provision,His guidance and His strength. I did not learn this right away but slowly,bit by bit,I felt His presence with me and heard His voice directing me and learned to trust in Him in a way I never could before. We can be deceived into thinking that we are trusting God when in reality we are relying on our own strength to get us through life. It is not until we die to self that we are reborn to this newness of life that is found in a daily minute by minute walk with Jesus who is all we need. Jesus was the finest example of servanthood this world has ever known. Walking in HIs footsteps and following His lead is defintely the road less travelled but also the road best travelled. Consider Him(Jesus) who endured such opposition of sinners against himself lest we be weary and faint in our minds(lose heart)-for we have not resisted to the point of shedding of blood in our struggle against sin as He has!! Hebrews 12:3-4 If we are truely His followers,this is the path we must follow-His path. This is why it is the road less travelled-we can’t do it in our own strength-we must rely on His strength to get there. That means coming to the end of our own strength so we can learn how to travel this road. The road of servanthood! The only way to get to where we want to be at the end of life’s journey!!! Follow Him-He has travelled the road before us and now travels with us.

  4. Reply
    Sue says:

    Somehow, I don’t find it difficult to identify with where these disciples were and their line of thought. I have often looked at the disciples as a ‘rag-a-muffin’ group of misfits recruited by Jesus to do an unlikely mission. But as I have been looking deeper into the scriptures these past couple weeks, I think I may have been too quick to judge them. Jesus hand-picked this group for more reasons than I had taken time to consider.
    The disciples were Galileans. Galileans were passionate about the scriptures, they knew them by memory and studied them intensely. The more highly gifted students who graduated from the Jewish secondary school were called ‘Talmidin’ which is the Hebrew word for ‘disciple’. These Talmidin dedicated themselves to their master/rabbi with their main desire to be like him. They had passed the test and their commitment and passion set them apart.
    Just prior to setting out for Capernaum Jesus spent time teaching His disciples (Talmidin). The part He focused on this time was His betrayal, death & resurrection. Mark tells us that they didn’t understand what He was telling them and they were afraid to ask Him.
    Having this background in mind, I think about the disciples on the road to Capernaum. There was probably a bit of emotional turmoil, a sense of the unknown and a lot of uncertainty among these men. I think I may have felt like my world had just been shaken if I had been among that group. What they had just been told was probably uneasily stuck in their heads, stirring their thoughts and emotions. They didn’t understand it completely but wouldn’t probe deeper because they were afraid of the answers.
    I’ve been there. I’ve heard it said that we’re only accountable for what we know. If I don’t read any further, ask any more, pray any longer I can go my way without feeling guilty. Easier said than done. Ultimately God knows my heart and He knew the disciples hearts.
    Deep down, the disciples knew that their time with their Master was getting short. Their passion for His kingdom and their love for Him had grown but they feared they were about to lose Him. Did this fuel their discussion about greatness? Was it from a sincere desire to be the most pleasing to their Master, was it a diversion to keep from thinking of the last discussion with their teacher … or was it a last ditch attempt to gain seniority in the kingdom.
    What caught my attention is that Jesus didn’t reprimand them. He didn’t rebuke them. The scripture didn’t say that He was even disappointed in them. Instead, He called the disciples to Him, and understanding the heart of a true disciple to be like their master, He patiently explained what they should have already seen in Him … to be first in His kingdom you must willingly take last place … even more, become a servant of all. He knew their heart and saw what they were capable of. He loved who they were and, more so, He loved who they would become.
    I have to confess to the same fears that the disciples had. During the dark places in my journey I’ve sometimes experienced abandonment & rejection. I’ve let those experiences play into my relationship with God and placed on Him the actions of those around me. I’ve been guilty of accusing the One who gave His life for me in the most horrific way of rejection.
    And to avoid facing this I’ve also walked the path of the disciples and thought of how to raise myself up in His eyes (as if it were possible). I’ve allowed our enemy to blind me to the love and grace of God.
    There are plenty of promises & truths to claim here: “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” (Hebrews 13:5), “Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.” (Mark 9:37), “Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.” (Mark 9:41)
    The highest honour in His kingdom is that of a servant. The highest level we can rise to is at His feet. Today I’m grateful and praise Him for His grace that picks me up each time I trip over my own arrogance and pride. Today I praise Him for His patience and the promise of His presence.

  5. Reply
    Jim Holmes says:

    While travelling together with His disciples, Jesus was aware of a dispute taking place between them. So He addressed their concern by asking them “What was it that you dispute among yourselves on the way?” No one would tell Him because it was about who would be greatest. Jesus, however, could discern their thoughts and He took the opportunity to teach them, having sat down and called them to Himself.
    Jesus said: “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.”

    The kingdom of God is so foreign to our way of thinking, and really, it’s our thinking that’s gone haywire backwards. Molded by the society around us…we think as the world would think and it is difficult to call white black and black white. If red correctly, it is all so contradictory and messed up…well, we need someone to “save” us from our thinking…and I think this, good thinking. How can you be first and last? Well, definitely we see that whatever comes now, the other will be later. So the question is: “How do you want to Finish?”…so you will then know how to get off to a good start!

    So let’s begin…the race. Bang!

    Jesus…is our example! He is our Savior. What did Jesus do? Well, we know…He is “the Way!” So then, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”…let us run the race set before us . The scripture says, in Phil 2:5… Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    What a picture! Jesus took what He said to His disciples, completely backwards…servant of all, being last, becoming first.
    So let us run hand in hand with Humility together with Obedience as Jesus did and we will win the race… Become saturated with the Word, having the mind of Christ, willing to hear, see, and do what your Heavenly Father is doing. Becoming a servant…taking oneself to a place of no reputation…as Gal.2:20 says: “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me….”

    To win the race…we need the heart of a servant. In Christ Jesus, we are given a new heart…a heart that holds the desires of our King. Phil.2:12 says “For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. It is God at work in us…giving us his desire, His will…to make us more like Jesus whom we love and serve …. What does that mean? What did Jesus do?…that is our calling in Him, being a servant with His heart. He gave His life for us all…we are served with the Bread of Life…all have been served…God so loved the world that He gave….His only Son. Becoming more like Jesus…we become His servants…ambassadors beseeching others to come…to hold forth the Word of life…to have others taste, and see that God is good.
    As serving Christ…we too become servants of all…some will reject Him…others will come and know Eternal Life, in God’s Son, in Christ Jesus.

    S – It is “sin” when we do not trust the Lord, our Shepherd, who goes before the sheep.

    P – hold fast to the promise of eternal life.

    A – let me have the attitude of a servant

    C – we want to change…to be more like Jesus

    E – Jesus is our example…to walk in His shoes..

    P – Pray that we keep our eyes on Jesus

    E – avoid the error of the world…to serve self

    T – Jesus is the Truth…we are to trust His leading

    S – something to praise God for….”for showing us the Way”

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