Sunday, 21 October 2012

Turn the world upside down

GospelMark 10:35-45 

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.’
  When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

As a mother, I am quite grateful that in Mark's Gospel the brothers take on the responsibility of asking for their request; in Matthew their mother is blamed for wanting the best for them. 

You notice the 'Master' title again from last week? The brothers are being as naive and as worldly minded as the Rich young man. For all the time they have been with Jesus, they have learnt very little and are expecting to negotiate for very much. They have spent too many years believing in the world view of success.

They don't know what they are asking.

But at least, unlike the Rich young man, they are prepared to say 'Yes'; to take a chance; to imagine that they could come close to Jesus.

Discipleship asks us to take that leap of faith. How often, in a moment of conversion, do we start off imagining that, yes, we are the answer; the one who will change people's hearts; the one who will open people's eyes; the one who can 'fix' the world. 

Jesus accepts our self-assuredness as childlike as it is; knowing that our sacrifices are worthy; our feet in his footprints are discipleship; our hearts are full of grace.

Jesus also knows that wherever our discipleship will take us; he must go there first. He must be our example otherwise there will be no humility, only ego. 

We are reminded of the most topsy-turvy, radical, challenging and, often, unacceptable element of following Jesus. We set our sights on Heaven and Jesus tells us the only way to get there is to fall; to the position of the servant; to the attitude of a slave. To be God-like is something quite unexpected.

In Jesus' name


1 comment:

Lynda said...

To have a servant heart - to serve expecting nothing in return. Humility is to know who we are in God's eyes - God's beloved children who are loved beyond measure. We need nothing more but we so seldom understand that.