“He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said…” — Mark 9:35a
Blessed, I’ve had a lot of class time in my life as a student. I can count on one hand the times a professor sat down in his or her class.
That is, until I came Lancaster Theological Seminary. Now, to be fair, our class times on campus are five hours long, and we have two classes a day, but each of my professors in the doctoral program has sat with us for nearly all of our instructional time.
You’ve had class experiences, too. Think about what it is like (or would be like) if your teacher were to sit with you. There is still teaching going on, but something changes.
Jesus, a teacher, did a lot of talking. Jesus, our Savior, also did a lot of sitting. He was as relational with His disciples as He was instructional. He had a lot to say. He was also aware how He said it.
In this lectionary text, Mark 9:30-37, Jesus makes three points:
1.) He would be betrayed by His enemies, would suffer and die, and would rise three days later from the dead.
2.) After asking who was the greatest among them, He made it clear that whoever wants to be first must take last place, and this person must be the servant of everyone else.
3.) In the context of His first two points, He also added that anyone who welcomes a little child also welcomes Him, and whoever welcomes Jesus also welcomes His Father who sent Him.
No light fare is presented here. Jesus puts down considerable information with these three game changers. In this heady Christian dogma, something to consider is how Jesus shares. He sits with them. He is not a tower. They are pebbles on the ground. He joins them, eye to eye.
It’s a beautiful picture to imagine. Jesus sits down. Perhaps before He curls His legs under His torso or folds His hands over His lap, He calls the pack over to Him. He has a lot to say. More specifically, He was a lot to share.
What Jesus says is as important as how He says it. In the four gospels, we see Jesus being patient, prophetic, present, attentive, loving, lighthearted and kind. He can also be loud, firm, and very direct at times.
But it comes down to this. He sits with us. Much like a seminary professor caring so much for his or her students AND the information there is to cover together that they take a seat to show how they are with you side by side, Jesus calls us to Him. He welcomes us to Him.
Welcome Him back. As you would welcome a little child to you, welcome Jesus the same way.
PRAYER: Easily, warmly, and the gentleness, let me sit with—and listen to—You, dear Jesus. Amen.