The scripture readings assigned for this coming Sunday are: Isaiah 53: 10-11, Hebrews 4: 14-16, and Mark 10: 35-45. The readings remind us that if we are true followers of Christ, there will be suffering; we will “drink the cup” He drinks.
The Gospel text centers on the request of James and John that they be allowed to sit at his side in glory. These brothers are asking this after hearing the third prediction of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection in Mark 10: 32-34.
What could they be thinking? It seems like they may have been ready to suffer and die with Jesus. Jesus actually tells them that they will drink the cup he must drink, but he could not promise a place at his side. He doesn’t criticize them. But he does challenge the ten who get “angry” when they hear about the brothers’ request. And the great teaching he then gave applied to all twelve; none of them should think they could lord it over anyone. If they want to be “great” they must be “servants”. And the model for this humble service is none other than Jesus who said “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”.
And we, all of us who follow Jesus need to hear that message loud and clear because it becomes very easy to “lord it over” others. This happens in the church when appointed leaders or un-appointed leaders forget the fundamental message of Jesus and somehow feel that as they push others around they are being true to Jesus.
And this happens in the family and in the work place, too. We often hear of people running roughshod over others in the name of efficiency or just plain arrogance. If our Lord and Savior did not run roughshod over those who accused him of high crimes and then killed him, then we know what our response must be when we are accused. That does not mean we roll over and play dead. But it does mean that if we practice non-violence we become the active, positive force to change the reality around us.
Not many chapters after the event spoken of here, Jesus will be accused of crimes and will be put to death in one of the cruelest ways imagined. Yes, he will rise again, but that miracle does not remove one minute of the pain and suffering that Jesus experienced. From this Suffering Servant we gain our courage to do as he did and that lifestyle will bring about the ransom of many.
Come join us any Sunday at 8:00 or 10:30 AM. We are located at 4051 N. 25th Street, just north of Capitol Drive, in the heart of the city.
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