Rev. Geoff McKee’s scripture for 21 October 2018 is Mark 10:35-45, in which James and John make their child-like request to Jesus to be allowed to sit at his right and left in his glory – not realising that these places would be crosses, not seats.
Mark 10:35-45 (New International Version)
The Request of James and John
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 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.”
It’s interesting to take a look at a number of Renaissance paintings of Jesus’ crucifixion scene.
Many will have the solitary cross of Christ with the key figures, his mother and some disciples, gathered by the base of the cross. Other paintings will depict the three crosses with the criminals either side of Jesus. Some painters have given a greater weight of prominence to the three cross scene than others.
In the verses just before the Gospel text this morning, Jesus had told the disciples that he would be condemned, humiliated and killed.
Then, almost immediately, James and John put their request to Jesus that they be allowed to occupy places to his right and left in his glory, not realising that those places would not be seats, but crosses either side!
They then dug even deeper holes for themselves as they committed themselves to be baptised with his baptism and to drink from his cup.
Fools!! Or were they?
And are we? – as we too are baptised with his baptism and drink also from his cup every time we gather around his table?
A teacher was once handed the following note by one of her pupils: “Dear Teacher, Please excuse Harriet for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it on Monday, we thought it was Sunday.”
How’s that for confusion?
Welcome to the world of James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Welcome to our world! [Read more…]