Year B – Proper 24 – Mark 10:35-45

Mark 10:35-45   James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  36 And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?”  37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”  38 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?”  39 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;  40 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.” 41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.  42 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.  43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant,  44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.  45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Summary – This passage highlights the zeal of the “sons of Thunder” (James and John). They wanted to be great in the kingdom, they wanted first place. Instead of reproving their obvious pride of position, Jesus draws out a rich lesson in leadership. He as whether they were willing to do the service that would yield to them that rank of leadership. Would they be able to drink the same cup as Jesus? Would they be able to be baptized with the same baptism as Jesus? This refers to Jesus death and the things he would suffer. Jesus assures them they will partake of his sufferings, but finally redirects the quest – “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant.”

Insight – Like James and John we cannot always see our own motivations clearly. It is hard for us not to want to be in first place. Jesus set the example for us in that he came to be born into a humble family, though he was rightfully the Prince of All the World. He did not grasp or cling to his position of first place. He did not seize power by avoiding the cross and worshiping the devil in His temptation. He went through his life and especially his ministry being repeatedly rejected and verbally attacked. As he says, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Then, he finally yielded to being physically attacked and tortured to death, though he as the Son of God could have called it off at any moment with legions of angels.

Catechism – What did the Son of Man do? The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Discussion – What are some ways we can serve and follow the example of Jesus?

Prayer – Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending Jesus to be a Servant to us and to show us how to love others. Grant us the grace to desire to follow him who gave his life a ransom for many. Help us serve one another in our families and the church. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

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