One day the Lord went to Galilee with His disciples. There He told them that He would have to suffer and die. The Lord also told them that He would resurrect a short time later. In Mark we read that the disciples did not understand Him. The disciples had seen the miracles that Jesus had performed. They had seen the people flock to Him. Three of the disciples—Peter, James, and John—had even witnessed the transfiguration of the Lord just a short time before. So when they arrived in Capernaum, Jesus asked the disciples what they had been disputing about on the road. As it turned out, they had been discussing who was the greatest among them. After all, once Jesus had revealed Himself in His glory, they too would profit somewhat from His glory as His disciples—at least, that is what they might have been thinking secretly. That was why the disciples were discussing who would have the highest position once Jesus was Lord and King (cf. Mark 9: 30-34). It is not much different today. Nowadays, people behave in very much the same fashion: when they find out that someone is about to become very powerful, they want to be very good friends with him.
How is it with us? We have decided to follow and serve the Lord. But did we also understand Him? What is our motivation for following and serving the Lord? I propose the following test: if we want to discover our true motivation for following the Lord, all we have to do is look at our conversations. Let us ask ourselves the question that Jesus asked His disciples: “What was it you disputed among yourselves on the road?” How do we talk about our neighbour? If we spend all our time accusing our neighbour, we demonstrate that we have not understood the Lord. If we have truly understood the Lord, we will speak differently about our neighbour. We will defend our neighbour and not accuse him.
How do we talk about our Church? Let us talk about what the Lord does in His Church, let us not just see the Church as an organisation and spend our time complaining about all the things that don’t work. If we have understood what the Lord is doing in His work, we will not spend any time on unnecessary discussions and complaints.
The disciples were discussing who was the greatest among them. How much energy do we spend on showing others how important and useful we are? When you listen to some people, you notice that they spend a great deal of time trying to show how much they have done and how good they are. We usually think very highly of ourselves. Let us not discuss who is the greatest among us. Jesus settled the dispute among His disciples this way: “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
All New Apostolic Christians must serve their fellow human beings by making their lives a testimony for Christ. If it is our desire to serve all in the Church, then we must bear the burdens of our neighbour. If we seek to serve all in the Church, we will have to comfort our brothers and sisters when misfortune befalls them, pray for them when they are weak, and encourage them when they are in need. Let us help them grow in faith by testifying to them of the gospel.
As children of God, we can all perform this service: let us make our lives a testimony of the gospel, bear the burdens of our brother or sister, and contribute to the edification of the Church.
(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)