The disciples in Mark’s gospel have an especially hard time understanding Jesus. His way is God’s way, which is a different way.
James and John ask for positions of power and glory in the messianic kingdom. In response, the other disciples are resentful. Then Jesus contrasts all of them, in their calling, to the dominant culture (“among the Gentiles,” verse 42). He adds, “But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” (verses 43-44) Jesus also teaches this paradox of discipleship in other, similar terms in the gospels: the first shall be last and the last, first; to lose one’s life is to gain it.
The instinct for power over others, the resentful and petty response, and the overall misunderstanding of the disciples, all in its very humanness, leaves us room to identify with them. It is why God’s way is a different way: it goes against our instincts.
With God’s grace in the gift of faith, we can let go of our instincts. Quiet time and prayer help this to happen. Letting go is a great gift. With it, we experience the joy of God’s different way.
God, whose way is different, help us to let go. Amen. — TDW