Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Sep 23rd)

The Pastor's Summary of Mark 9:30-37

the disciples have failed to cure an epileptic boy of an unclean spirit; this has led to them being puzzled. After Jesus cures him, they ask: how could you cure him but we could not? Jesus tells then: that kind of healing requires the power of prayer; it can't be done by earthly means.

Now, as they travel from Casesarea Philippi to Jeruslaem, the re-enter Jewish territory. Jesus again wishes to avoid partial understanding of him and his mission. He again teaches that he, the Son of Man is to be killed, but adds one new idea: he is to be betrayed or handed over to people; this is part of God's plan. Both his suffering and betrayal are so beyond the undersanding of the disciples that they dare not reveal their ignorance.

Jesus now teaches more about being his followers. the disciples have been arguing over rank. Jesus says, in effect: to be my disciples, you must abandon seeking position and prestige. He takes an example to welcome a child in my name is to welcome me, and indeed God. In Aramaic and Greek the word for child is the same as for servant, so may also speak of welcoming a servant, one sent by his master. If so, Jesus is saying: whoever receives the servant receives the master. Whoever receives a child receives Jesus and whoever receives Jesus receives God, who sent him. Both child and servant are without status. They are unable to repay a kindness, in earthly terms.