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The apostles debate who is the greatest

Originally Appeared in : 9820-9/27/18

Jesus was traveling around Galilee with his apostles. At one point, he asked Peter, James and John to come with him up a high mountain. 

 

Once they were on the mountain, Jesus was suddenly changed. His clothes became a dazzling white, and Elijah and Moses appeared to speak with him. A cloud came and cast a shadow over everyone, and a voice could be heard saying, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” 

 

Just as suddenly, the cloud, Elijah and Moses were gone. Jesus told them to say nothing of what they saw until the Son of Man rose from the dead.

 

After they came down the mountain, Jesus healed a boy who was possessed by a demon. Then the friends continued their journey. 

 

Along the way, Jesus explained that “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But the apostles didn’t understand and were afraid to ask questions. 

 

As they neared Capernaum, the apostles began to argue with one another. When they reached their destination, Jesus asked what they were fighting about. 

 

The apostles looked at one another sheepishly and were silent, because they had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest. 

 

But, of course, Jesus already knew what they had been saying.

 

He called his friends to him.

 

“If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all,” Jesus explained. 

 

He then brought a child into their midst. 

 

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me,” he said. 

 

John then told Jesus something that the apostles had done. 

 

“Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us,” John said. 

 

Jesus told his friends that the person should have been allowed to drive out demons. 

 

“There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us,” Jesus said. 

 

READ MORE ABOUT IT: 
Mark 9 

 

Q&A 
1. Where were Jesus and the apostles traveling? 
2. What were the apostles arguing about? 

 

BIBLE ACCENT: 

Just days before Jesus’ death, the apostles once again argued over who was the greatest. 

 

We read in Luke 22 that Jesus and the apostles were in Jerusalem for the Passover and had gathered to share the Passover meal together. Christians call this meal “the Last Supper.” 

 

After Jesus instituted the Eucharist during the Last Supper, he said that he would be betrayed by one of the Twelve. Afterward, the apostles began to bicker over which one of them should be viewed as the greatest. 

 

Jesus looked at his arguing friends. 

 

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them and those in authority over them are addressed as ‘Benefactors’; but among you it shall not be so,” he said. “Rather, let the greatest among you be as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.” 

 

Jesus then asked them who was greater — the one who is seated at table or the one who serves.

 

“Is it not the one seated at table? I am among you as the one who serves,” he said. “It is you who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father has conferred one on me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom; and you will sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel.” 

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