October 21, 2018
Choosing to Serve
In the moments before today’s gospel reading continues the narrative, Jesus has just told his disciples, for the third time and in some detail, that he will be handed over to the religious leaders and the Roman authorities, and that he will be put to death (Mark 10:32-34).
Shortly thereafter, James and John decided it was the perfect time to ask Jesus for a reward. Did Jesus sigh when he saw them approach, wondering what these Sons of Thunder were up to now? In response to their bold request he doesn’t tell them “no,” but instead asks something of them. Do they really believe they can follow him on the path he has chosen, to live—and die—like him?
The brothers were confident they could. As astounding as their response may sound to us, are we really any different? Just as small children asserting their autonomy insist, “Lemme do it! I can do it,” how often do we too take an I-can-do-it-all-without-your-help approach to our lives? God shows us that we absolutely cannot do everything on our own. Yet God does not just step in and take over. God fully respects our free will, regardless of how wise or unwise our choices might be.
Jesus shows the disciples that his way, God’s way, doesn’t look like other ways. As followers of Jesus our work is not to seek positions of power and prestige. God is above everything and everyone. Instead, the greatest ones are those who serve. Being a servant, putting others first, is how someone becomes great. Jesus came to serve, not to be served.
Jesus demonstrates the way of Christian living and honors us with the hope that we will follow his example. That we too will choose to serve rather than be served, and in doing so, glorify God.
From sundaysandseasons.com. Copyright © 2018 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.