Pecking Orders – Mark 9:30-37

Complete Text

It has been claimed in the past that I have a problem with authority. There are probably a couple layers of truth to that. First, as a sinful human I do have a problem with authority. My sinful nature wants to be God. But of course that is never what that claim means. It means “you” have a problem with “my” authority. Given that perception is reality in almost all circumstance, that claim is probably true, or the person in authority would not be making it. The real question becomes – is the problem justified? [In any such situation there are always the practical concerns of could I really do anything?]

Skipping the longer confessional, after looking at the text, my reaction was ‘ok, I better be careful given my anti-authoritarian nature.’ What this text asks of us thought is a radical realization followed by radical action. That realization is that we are nothing before God. Only Jesus has the authority to forgive and raise. Any like authority is completely derivative from Jesus. On God’s pecking order we don’t make the list. The action is living out that realization. This does not level authority in the worldly realm (i.e. governments are still valid, city zoning is valid) but it does call on Christians to recognize those not on the world’s pecking orders as people under God’s care to whom the gospel needs to be brought. The bum and the executive have exactly the same merit on God’s list and as far as we are Kingdom people the executive has a call to recognize that and act on that. Is that practical? No. Is that part of the Kingdom inaugurated by Jesus and which weare waiting for it complete revelation? Yes.