Jesus and His disciples have reached Capernaum after their walk through the region of Galilee. Once they get there they go into a house. Jesus wants to discuss some of the behavior along the way.
I was trying to figure out where Jesus and the disciples started out from and how long it took them to get back to Capernaum. I was wondering how long this journey was. The beginning of the journey happened soon after Jesus, Peter, James and John joined the disciples at the foot of the mountain following Jesus’ transfiguration. So I did a little research on the location for Jesus’ transfiguration.
Not being a bible scholar myself, I turned again to the internet for some answers. I learned that there are no definite answers but only educated guesses. The location is believed to be either on Mt. Tabor or Mt. Hermon. Mt. Tabor is to the south of Capernaum by about 40-50 miles while Mt. Hermon is north by 30-40 miles. More scholars hold to the Mt. Hermon location but the Catholic Church holds to the Mt. Tabor location and has erected a monastery there known as the Basilica of the Transfiguration. Two sites I found my information from are Bible.org and BiblePlaces.com
So Jesus’ and His disciples’ journey took at least two days, using the 20 miles per day estimate. While they were making this journey Jesus talked with them about His impending death and resurrection. Apparently this didn’t take up the whole time they were walking together because somehow a few of Jesus’ disciples got into an argument on the way.
Jesus let their behavior pass while they were walking. Why? Why didn’t He address it then and there? We know He knew what they were arguing about. Why did He wait until they got to their destination before addressing the issue? We will see tomorrow that this was not the only time Jesus gave the disciples a pass on their behavior on a journey but addressed it later on.
Once everyone was in the house, Jesus asked His disciples what they were “discussing” along the way. He knew they had been arguing and the content of that argument, but He wanted to hear it from their lips. The whole group froze. Not a one of them told Him what it was about. They were ashamed of their behavior. They knew they were being petty and bringing it up to Jesus for His input was NOT going to happen, if they could help it. Jesus had other ideas though.
Jesus sat down and called His disciples to join Him. I don’t know if they sat on the floor or chairs or stood around Him, but they were right there to hear what He would tell them. Jesus didn’t answer their question in the way they had been arguing it out. He instead addressed how one gets to be great in His Kingdom. It is through service that greatness comes. Not service as in doing certain projects to elevate oneself up the ladder of success, but service done solely to benefit another. Then greatness is assigned to the servant by God.
Then Jesus does one of the sweetest things I know of. He brings a child over to sit on His lap. Oh how I would love to be that child in real life! He wrapped His arms around the little one and spoke of how special he was to Him. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but Him who sent me” (verse 37). “This child is so precious to me that anything you do to him, I take it personally. I will reward your good treatment of him as well as avenge any wrong treatment done to him. He is MINE. And none can harm him.”
Father God, I know I am wrapped in Your arms spiritually and I have received the picture of myself as a child on You lap, but to have Jesus’ physical arms surrounding me is my greatest desire. When I get to Heaven I want to crawl up in ‘Daddy’s lap’ for real. Would I dishonor You by doing so? Would You really allow me to climb up in Your HOLY lap? I can see Jesus actually wrapping His arms around me and hugging me, but will You hold me too? I long for that! I know that is not the whole of the lesson Jesus shared today but that is what my heart cries out for.
Jesus, You are so gentle with us. So much of our behavior You don’t address until You have us all to Yourself. Sometimes an immediate correction is in order, but even then it is always done out of love. When You rebuked Peter immediately after he rebuked You, it was out of love and was for his protection and his future with You. When God rebuffed Peter with the cloud on the mountaintop, it was again done in love and to bring him back to the right path.
In today’s account You waited for that alone time. You waited until You had their full attention. THEN You brought the lesson necessitated by the behavior. You corrected their behavior without squashing their spirit or chastising them for the original idea. Thank You that You provided guidance for their question instead of a “spanking.” “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12). Thank You for Your discipline, both gentle and firm. I would be LOST without it.