Season After Pentecost (Proper 24) – The Gospel Passage: Undertaking the ways of the Lord God Jesus Christ
“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.” 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.” ( Mark 10:35 – 37)
I can imagine Jesus slightly taken aback by the disciples’ statement, wondering just what was it they thought Jesus should do for them. Now Jesus would do ANYTHING for them as long as it was in their best interests. And I imagine maybe he was a little amused. But mostly wanting to set them straight.
“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.” (Verses 38 – 40)
There was a time I thought long and hard about who would sit at Jesus’ right hand or left hand. Especially when it is also said that Jesus sits at the right hand of God, which means that one of Jesus’ sides is already taken, unless Jesus and God are the same Deity in which case James and John just asked to be seated beside the Lord God the Divine. And if there is only one right hand of the Divine and one left hand of the Divine that means that out of all human existence only two people would be the ones “prepared.” AND considering what that “preparation” might entail, I am not sure that there would be only two people out of all of human existence that would be worthy.
“When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John.” (Verse 41)
If this situation were not bizarre enough, the other ten got peeved because they thought James and John were “budging” in line and they – meaning the other ten – should also be in contention for this honor. However, beloved reader, do not let this have you think less of the disciples. Between this point and Jesus ascending into heaven, the disciples got a crash course in what it means to be followers of the Divine. And that some honors come with too high a price tag.
“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.” (Verses 42 – 45)
You know, beloved reader, I really have to think and believe that Jesus Christ would not seek to be seated at the right hand or the left hand side of himself – if that was the honor. What I mean is that Jesus did not seek honors or prestige. He IS honored and glorified because he is Divine from the Lord God. But that was not Jesus’ agenda when he was on the earth. Jesus the SERVANT King – not a king that demands to be at the head of the line, but someone who is content to be at the every end of the line making sure that everyone else has what he or she needs for this life and the life to come. And furthermore, those two people who are seated to the right and left of Jesus will probably be the two people that everyone else thinks is lest likely to be there. I for one am looking forward to seeing which two lest likely people they are. Selah!
Syndicated from Pondering From the Pacific