To read the texts click on the texts: James 4:1-10; Mk 9:30-37
The text of today contains the second Passion, death and resurrection prediction that Jesus makes on the way to Jerusalem and Jesus’ explanation of his way of life to his disciples after they misunderstand what his kingdom is all about.
In this second passion and resurrection prediction, there is a change in the verb from the first where the verb was the passive “be killed” (8,31) to the active “they will kill him” (9,31).
If after the first passion and resurrection prediction it is Peter who misunderstands, here, it is the disciples as a whole that misunderstand because "on the way" they are discussing who the greatest among them is, when Jesus is speaking about service and being the least.
Before his teaching on what discipleship means, Jesus sits down thereby assuming the formal position of a teacher. He speaks first of a reversal of positions and status in the kingdom, and then places before them the example of a child. In the oriental world of Jesus' time, the child was a non-person, and so by this example, Jesus derives home the point that they will have to lose their identity, become non-persons if they want to gain entry into the kingdom.
Authority as understood in Christianity can never be for domination but is always for service. Management experts today are advocating more and more the advantages of using authority for service and leading by example. In this manner the leader can get more out of the ones he/she leads than if he/she tries to dominate.