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  • Writer's picturesonnyholmes


Each of the Synoptic Gospels recorded an incident in the earthly ministry of Jesus when the disciples argued about which of them would be the greatest in Christ's kingdom. It is, among many other examples, a biblical angle on "the human element" and how personal ego can put even members of a select unit at odds. Evidently the Twelve had not yet learned the joys and discipline of mutuality. Few of us have learned that "human element" discipline two thousand years later. Here are the verses from the Gospels---

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the

kingdom of heaven?”

Matthew 18:1, ESV

But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who

was the greatest.

Mark 9:34, ESV

An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest.

Luke 9:46, ESV

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the


Luke 22:24, ESV

Once again, mutuality among humans, especially those in the community of faith, is another significant Scriptural theme. Make note of several verses, what is a very small sampling, about how the Gospel levels the human playing field and places us in interdependent, mutual relationships---

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the

Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12, ESV and parallels

Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:21, ESV

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and

female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28, ESV

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to

the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that

seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we

think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts

are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not

require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that

lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may

have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if

one member is honored, pall rejoice together.

1 Corinthians 12:21-25, ESV

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the

Lord of glory.

James 2:1, ESV

We humans, however, have our systems of positioning. And, what is more, we love them. No, perhaps worship them. You know, seniority, longevity, rank, pecking order,

first/last, freshman/sophomore/junior/senior, organizational grids, executive suites, corner offices, perks, and all the other manifestations of illusory superiority that mark the species. While slotting and ranking and proficiency are valid elements of any organization with a mission, they are not a condescension of human worth. Value isn't a position on an organizational chart. In the economy of heaven, every person matters. Mutuality is the essential element.

Mutuality isn't a foreign ideal or lofty academic concept. Basically it is sharing between two or more parties, what we should have learned in kindergarten. It should be a visible human trait in the land of the free and home of the brave, especially in times like these. The uncertainties and dangers of Covid-19 still perplex us. Yet, here we are, individuals to the core, playing our political games, practicing one ups-man-ship in even the crafty skills of owning toilet paper. Questionable times should draw us together in mutual concern and effort. I love what the Apostle Paul wrote to the suffering believers in the persecuted church at Rome---

That we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith...

Romans 1:12, ESV

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up-building.

Romans 14: 19, ESV

It's the element of mutuality again, what I have labeled as Mu on the metaphoric periodic table. I've added the sub-note, OUR12. Read it like this: oh you are one two. It means that we all matter and need each other.

And, UR12.

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