Mark 9:33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that you disputed among yourselves by the way?
Capernaum, which means “a field of repentance”, is the city Jesus used as his base of operation and became known as “His own city”.
Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
There was a dispute among them as to who was the greatest and in charge.
Mark 9:34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
Jesus had just told them that he would be sacrificed
Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Mark 9:35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and said unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
To be first, to be great, one must be a servant and serve.
Luke 22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serves? Is not he that sits at meat? But I am among you as he that serves.
Mark 9:36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
The child represents the purity of humility and innocence. He also used himself as an example of humility.
Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Mark 9:37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receives me: and whosoever shall receive me, receives not me, but him that sent me.
Luke 18:15 And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Jesus wants us to receive Him in the same manner as a child would – happily and submitting without care or question. He is also making it clear that He is the savior we can trust completely. He is the only begotten Son of our Father. Are you tired? Enter His arms and you will find rest. Are you cold? Embrace His love and warmth. We are His children and He will take care of us.
Mark 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in your name, and he followed not us: and we forbad him, because he followed not us.
John is convicted by what Jesus is teaching and realizes that they were engaged in disputing not only among themselves but separating themselves from others who were doing Christ’s work.
Matthew 10:40 He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me.
Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
This is a lesson against divided Christendom
Moses had the same situation:
Numbers 11:26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp. 27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. 29 And Moses said unto him, Envy you for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
Mark 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Mark 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfill you my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Don’t offend or rebuff your brother or sister that is doing the work of the Lord.