Mark relays a story to us that we can all relate to in chapter 9 beginning in verse 33. Christ asks the question, “What were you discussing on the way,” and the disciples kept silent. This is like the 5 year old child caught in some sort of mischief. A parent might simply ask, “who did this,” with the purpose of testing the child’s understanding of honesty, repentance and forgiveness. Many times the child will stop and stare blankly knowing their guilt yet fearful of actually verbalizing a confession. They are caught red-handed, but are fearful of what might come next.
In an attempt to promote honesty and grace the parent might then take the opportunity to explain the importance of honesty, and encourage the child to verbalize their guilt. If the situation warrants it, the parent might also require the child to ask forgiveness at which point the parent will gladly grant it and explain reconciliation. It is an exercise of wisdom to sieze opportunities such as these for teaching, and this is what Christ is doing in Mark 9:33-37.
After receiving silence to His question, Christ gathers the twelve together much as a parent might pull other children into the lesson, and He begins to explain the value system of the kingdom. God’s kingdom is not open to those who seek first their own glory and satisfaction. The way to it was opened for us by the one who sought to do only the Father’s will (John 5:30), namely, the Son, Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is full of people who seek first the kingdom of God, and this is a glorious picture of what awaits God’s children in heaven. We will all live not for our own glory and exaltation, but truly for the honor and glory of Christ, and it is in this that we truly enjoy Him forever.
Entrance into the kingdom of God comes through the only person to perfectly die to Himself and to this world. Jesus gave Himself into the hands of the Father to be punished for the sins of God’s elect. For those who have received the gift of eternal life from the Holy Spirit through faith, that same Spirit is working in them a mindset of servanthood. We are called to be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2) because this is what the Spirit is working in us. This is the value system of heaven. The creation exalts the Creator as first and primary, and in doing so enjoys Him forever.