February 15, 2024

The Illusion of Greatness

Written by Tripp Prince

Jesus longs to bring us back to our senses.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 15, 2024

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. Mark 9:33-34, ESV

Without outside influence, we can convince ourselves of just about anything. One of life’s greatest gifts is found when a wise and trusted friend breaks into our isolation and helps us see either the folly of our ways or the wisdom of our thinking. Left to ourselves, we rarely approach life with an unbiased and objective opinion. We can build entire worlds within our minds, playing out this or that scenario, and if we tell ourselves something long enough, we just might start to believe that it’s true!

In many ways, this is what we find in Mark 9, with the disciples lost in a dead-end discussion about which of them was the greatest. Of course, left to ourselves, we all, by nature, tilt in this direction, seeking to secure our own prosperity, reputation, or seats of power. Yet this is not the way of Jesus, and it is a road that is guaranteed to give us a diminished and hollow life. The disciples needed Jesus to break into their conversation and shatter the illusion of greatness they had so fully given themselves to, and in truth, you and I need him to do the very same thing. 

It is important that we see Jesus’ intervention as a mercy, not a scolding. He doesn’t call them out to shame or belittle them, but to bring them back to their senses. He shines the light of his love on them so the darkness of their folly can be driven out and dispelled. Whenever you and I are stumbling along in similar moments of vanity or confusion, sometimes all it takes is a simple word from the master, spoken with tender compassion and care – “What were you discussing on the way?” – to reveal our selfishness and quest for significance and invite us once again to return to the way of humility and service.


Father, it is so terribly easy to get lost in ourselves, including our sense of worth and social significance. Free us today from this empty pursuit, and break into our confusion with a word of liberating clarity and peace, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Take the first step toward freedom today and invite the Lord in prayer to break into your thoughts and conversations, revealing to you any places in need of realignment or repentance.

Related Reading

Philippians 2:3-8; James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:6

Worship Resource

Young Oceans with Amanda Cook: Light of Your Love



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