On their walk to Capernaum, Jesus must have overheard his disciples discussing which of them would get the most prestigious post in his new regime. Yet when he asks them about their discussion, they are silent. They knew he would not be pleased with them.
So Jesus sits them down and reminds them again that his is an upside-down kingdom. The ones who want to be first of all must be servant of all. They are not to focus on right-handed power and attempt to climb to the top. They must choose the left-handed power that descends to the bottom and becomes the foundation.
These verses in Mark are an ideal way to conclude our look at the Corinthian church. All week we’ve been thinking about that congregation and Paul’s relationship to it. This is obviously a church in turmoil, filled with contention and division.
The Corinthian Christians are hooked on right-handed power, power that wants to dominate and intimidate. Paul has a lot to say to them about power, in particular the left-handed kind that Jesus displays on the cross.
Remember that Paul writes his famous “love chapter” (1 Cor 13) to this church, reminding them that of all the virtues they could develop, love for one another is the most important. No matter how talented, intelligent, orthodox, or emotional they might be, if they do not love one another, their faith is in vain.
Paul’s message to the Corinthians perfectly reflects Jesus’ words in verse 35: Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.
What does it mean for me to be last of all and servant of all?
Good and gracious God, show me specific ways to be last of all and servant of all today. Amen.