There’s been a lot of arguing in the Gospels these last couple of days. Yesterday, the disciples were arguing with the scribes when both groups found they were incapable of casting a demon out of a person who was ill. Today, we have the disciples arguing among themselves because they find they don’t understand Jesus’ message.
All of this arguing betrays a real lack of growth in faith among those disciples. They probably felt like, since they were in Jesus’ inner-circle, they should have the answers. And perhaps they should, but to their defense, they hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet. In a real sense, they were still in formation, and they shouldn’t have been so afraid to ask Jesus for clarification.
Jesus’ lesson to them then comes from him putting a little child in their midst. Receive a child like this in my name, he tells them, and you receive me. What’s the point of that? Well, receiving a child in Jesus’ name is an act of service, because a child can do nothing but receive at that point in their life. So serving others in Jesus’ name is what brings us to the Father.
I think the take-away for us is that trying to be smarter than everyone else isn’t what shows that we are faithful people. Instead of arguing our point, we need to ask God to help us get the point. And we have to be ready to act on our faith, instead of arguing about it.