30 Aug Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, October 17th , 2021
Holy Gospel: Mark 10:35-45
Rev. Stephen McPeek
So this Gospel reading is really stunning. And two things naked standing, first of all I don’t know if you realize, but the same scenario was repeated three times in the book of Mark.
Three times. The second thing is the words that Jesus speech right before our passage from today, tells his friends about really the horrible things he’s going to experience in just a short time, so these three scenarios have something in common.
First of all, Jesus tells them what he is going to suffer. Second of all, his friends really behave badly. And third of all, Jesus tries to teach them something about his Kingdom in that situation.
In the first scenario Jesus says the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and the Hill and after three days, he will rise again. This is the one I know that you will remember Peter saying: no, or no can never be right, he’s really trying to tell the Lord he, like he knows better than the Lord. And what does Jesus say? Get behind me Satan for you are not setting your mind on things of God, what are the things of man. Then he says, and this is very similar to our reading today, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Or whoever would save his life will lose it but whoever loses it for my sake of the Gospel will save it. For what does it profit someone to gain the whole world and forfeit their soul. And the second time in Mark and Jesus says the son of man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed after three days, he will rise.
And again. Just what they’re doing after he tells them this. Instead of being concerned about Jesus what he’s going to go through, they start arguing about who’s the greatest. And then he says to them, if anyone would be first he must be last of all and servant of all and then we come to the third example, the same scenario.
And Jesus says, as we heard just a few minutes ago, we are going up to Jerusalem and the son of man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the gentiles and they will mark them and spit on him and loved him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.
This is a happy story that Jesus is sharing with his friends. But what do they do? Two of them come up – and we heard that – they said, we want you to do whatever we asked them. You think they weren’t even listening to what he just shared, they’re thinking about themselves. And he says, what do you want me to do for you and they say, which is very audacious, grant us to set one, on the one side and the other on the other side and then we’ll be at the top, with you. And then we hear what Jesus replied, and he said, it’s not my decision to give you, your place and then he says, you know that among those that you’re living, among those whom they recognized as their rulers lord it over them and they’re great ones are tyrants over them, but not so with you.
Whoever wishes to become great must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first must be the slave of all. Then – listen to the sentence, because it is so packed full of meaning – he says, for the son of man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many. So Mark is working really hard to try and communicate something to his fears his readers.
Stephen Barton, the editor of a book called ‘From the Gospels’ writes, the disciples seem so distant from Jesus in their commitments and behaviors. They receive authority and we read those stories to heal and exercise demons, they receive special instructions.They go on to prove themselves important in the fact of human need generally at grasping this message and for fear and faith and, finally, they betray him. They denied the abandoned, these are negative example, says Stephen Barton, within the narrative at the same time is worth noting that Jesus’s words potential followers are often has this general statements invitations directed not only to persons within the narrative but to those outside.
So let’s not kid ourselves, this is not an unusual situation, I mean but it’s rather a reflection of the things that go on inside of us as normal people. I don’t know if we, how we would have reacted in that situation. They’re reflecting the things that aren’t transform in our lives yeah thinking that we know better than just like Peter or desiring proximity to power and influence competing competition, the need to be better than the others and to be further ahead than the other for higher than the other.
So we siblings, my siblings in Christ have been blessed to be a blessing to others. Yet we still go on thinking about our own well beans and desires, worrying about whether we have enough for the future and spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about it and working on it and planning. So what was Jesus trying to teach us in this reading? First of all, Jesus is way is often. If not always diametrically opposed to the status for a culture of the day. It’s very different. And he’s trying to embrace this into his friends to us. The land values of the Kingdom of God, and how does he do it, he imparts it to them by his living example and one of those values that he really that really stands out in this reading is the value of servant, he says very clearly, you cannot be great unless you serve. You have to be willing to serve others. And the very last line of our reading it says something that’s really packed. It says, the son of man came not to serve but to serve.
So he opposes the status quo, that is living in results, who have money and power and a little bit more than the other day or the ruler. And here Jesus comes, he’s all powerful One, the one who is the exact representation of God, the one who was there at the beginning of creation of one who is God, humbles himself and becomes a service to his friends to human time to all of creation Jesus takes a base and of water and a towel and washes the feet of his friends. He cares for the marginalized and suffering, he does not use the power of his status as God to control and dominate, he does not live in a palace or a match, but rather among people. So he was demonstrating to his friends and to all who choose to follow him that a way of love is to serve and to help others to lead them, to help others reach their full potential in God.
Jesus lived. He lifted people. He helped to release people who are trapped by Justice and pain and sin, and not to use whatever position of authority that has been given to us to dominate control and hurt others and to return.
This is a tall order, this is the order of the gospel. It is the order of wonderful order of God that we have been called to be tall order of service can only be fulfilled by two things. First of all, by an encounter with a loving God, whose love compels us to live as he did, and none of us are going to start living like immediately, it’s a journey. But this encounter with the love of God that I had when I was 17 years old and began to push me on this path of service: But it’s so important. For one or the other might be at your baptism might be some other moment when you encounter God and the love of God begins to push you into service, but second of all:
There’s no way we can be servants without giving our lives as a living sacrifice. There’s no way, brothers and sisters, to be a follower of Jesus without being servants. And there is no way to be a servant of Jesus without laying down our lives as a living sacrifice.To be a living sacrifice is not easy, because it requires I daily for ourselves, while we are alive. If we lovingly say yes to Jesus, the path of transformation commences and the reformation of our hearts, that are often stubborn and selfish and self seeking and obdurate, begins to happen and Jesus is the otter and he begins to mold us the clay and he is the gold burning the impurities out of.
The goal, this transformation, happens in our daily struggles, in the midst of real life, in the midst of relationship and family at work with bosses who are me and co workers, we don’t like. It happens secret where nobody else sees what’s happening, except us. Sometimes this transformation happens when we begin to live against the status quo and start to experience push back and perhaps even persecution because we are instituting the values of the kingdom. And, in the midst of our real lives we are forged into service, it is not easy, and it is not painless, but it is good.
Jesus in trust himself to us when it says that he gave his life. When you read the Greek meanings of his life, means that Jesus in trusted his whole self to us, not just as physical body and death on the Cross, but his full South his wrath of life somebody from Hawaii aloha means a breath of God and Jesus entrusted his wrath of life. Through us and all of the affection of his heart towards creation this word interest and I want you to listen to this, because this is me this word interest implies.
That he is expecting that those of us that have been entrusted with the gift of life is life will take care of him and Stuart this gift of life, we have been entrusted with the breath of Jesus with the affections of his heart, so that the world will see who Jesus is.
Sometimes I wonder why Jesus entrusted us with himself with such a huge responsibility, knowing what kind of people, we can be.
Knowing that we could be so selfish and self centered and so I’m willing to sacrifice, knowing that these people would fight against and kill each other, because of differences of opinions three and the lust for power why more trust us.
Why? Because God we can do.
A prayer from Theresa of Avila who’s day we celebrated on Friday. Actually this sense of responsibility that became yours when Jesus left or like to read that to you.
Christ Has No Body
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
The Gospels are challenging and they get mad application. Justice Jesus is challenging and demands application are true faith, brothers and sisters, is not conducive to country club living or superficial association.
The good news is serious business that leads to much blessing, if we are willing.
Holy Gospel: Mark 10:35-45
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”