Was reading through Mark 10 this morning and was drawn especially to verses 32-52. Jesus begins those passages by telling the disciples what is about to happen to him and how he would be beaten, mocked, and killed and then “rise after three days”. It’s odd to me the immediate response James and John have to this news. “Hey, Jesus, once you enter glory…could you reserve the best seats for the two of us?” It’s as if neither of them had even heard a word Jesus had just said. The eyes and ears of their hearts don’t seem to be the least bit receptive to this heavy revelation and the seriousness of the moment.
Jesus goes on to rebuke them both, telling them they have no clue what they are asking. When the other 10 disciples catch wind of what James and John have just requested, we see that they become indignant with them. I love Jesus’ response to this moment: He calls them over and speaks more truth to them.
“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (vs 42-44)
And, it’s striking to me again…you would think after this focused conversation and rebuke, his disciples would have had an “ah-ha moment”. But, once again, it seems to have gone in one ear and out the other. (How very human they are!) Jesus had just shared with them an entirely different concept of “greatness”. He has just shared with them how greatness looks completely different than how the rulers of the world define importance, greatness and power. Greatness in Jesus’ world means becoming a slave to others, serving the least of these. It’s the sacrificial non-sensical love of the cross.
And what happens next? Jesus and his disciples encounter a blind beggar, the least of these crying out for help. To the disciples, all they can see is a disturbance in the journey, an inconvenience to the more important and grander agenda ahead.
But Jesus stops and says “call him over.” Just like he called the disciples over earlier, Jesus took the time to, once again, share the truth of what love really looks like. He calls this child of God over into the presence of greatness, not to rub his greatness into the man’s face…but to serve him, to have compassion on him and to meet a need. The beggar wasn’t an inconvenience along the journey, the beggar was the journey. Addressing and tending to this man was the most important and greatest tasks needing to be accomplished.
This is what struck me this morning:
In that moment, the blind beggar had more sight in his blindness on the side of that road than the disciples had walking up the road alongside the Giver of sight.