Friday 15 October 2021


Mark 10 v 32/45

This passage reveals our Lord’s foreknowledge of his own sufferings and death.  He tells his Apostles of his coming passion at Jerusalem, nothing is kept back. From the beginning of his ministry he knew he would end up on the Cross. When the appointed time  came, he kept his word, and died for us at Calvary. He who kept his task to suffer, will also save all who come to him.

Jesus is entering the last part of his life’s journey, the road to Jerusalem was the end.  He was walking along ahead of the Apostles on his own, and they were reluctant to speak to Jesus, even though they were struck at his bravery. They loved Jesus, but felt compelled by his magnetism, to accept what they could not understand.  Jesus had told them the ultimate way of things that belonged to God, and his whole life was submission to God. 

Each of  the predictions of Jesus for death and resurrection is followed by instructions to his Apostles, who were amazed by his determination in view of the detail he gave, in the light of what he said.  The Apostles were concerned as they followed Jesus that there would be fights, and thought they might suffer the same fate. 

 Jesus knew he would be handed over  to the Jewish leaders, who would hand him over to the Roman authorities.

They knew there was nothing they could do, Jesus would face what he felt he was there for, that which God had arranged. God had given him courage and strength, as God will do for all who truly serve him.  Sorrow is the price of love.

We see the improper action of James and John seeking special places beside Jesus, claiming to do the same as Jesus when they did not know the nature of the path before them. The other Apostles were indignant at their fellows, possibly through some own ambitions.

James and John belonged to the inner circle of Jesus, and on the way to Jerusalem may have thought that was the time to make their request for the future. They fully expected one to be each side of Jesus when he ruled in glory.

There would be a future in glory, but the path would be severe through divine judgement for Jesus.  The cup Jesus would drink would be the cup of God’s wrath in the place of mankind’s sinfulness.  Jesus asked if they would willing to drink the cup he drank, meaning to fight alongside him, and they answered they would. Only Jesus could face divine judgement for the way of mankind.

There are Christians who resemble James and John, apt to expect more present enjoyment from religion than what God wants us to expect, and think of the crown rather than the Cross.  We should see the importance of calm judgement in our religion. We are right in telling Jesus of our desires, but there is a cross to carry for all would be Christians. Do not be boastful in running the Christian course, lest you fall.

We see the praise Jesus bestows on lowlines and devotion to others.  When the others show their displeasure with James and \john, our Lord played the situation down, and tells of ideas of greatness built on a wrong foundation, and point out the need of being a servant.

Humility of service is by not lording it over those for whom one has responsibility.  Jesus does not deny human authority, but does not expect misuse.  We read as an example, he tells he came to serve by taking death on the Cross as a ransom for man.

Those who desire to be like Jesus should remember his teaching, how to act towards others, and not to act as pompous overlords.  Men and women in their positions within the Church are granted fancy titles, from a simple Reverend to Most Rev. to Very Rev. and are granted these as they occupy some administrative role, rather than to suggest different levels of being a Christian.  Indeed, some holding high Office in the Church do tend to get carried away, and feel they have a right to even tell people how not to vote for a Conservative.

Last year one of the leading evangelical preachers in the world, son of the generally accepted greatest preacher in Christian history (Billy Graham)came to hold meetings in this country. Bishops were actually (and shamefully) telling people NOT to attend his meetings in view of some of his inappropriate remarks, (such as marriage was only between a man and a woman.)

How necessary it is to study the Scriptures so we can see how relevant they are, to and for daily living. Thousands claim to follow the Lord, profess to have taken up the Cross and told of their belief in Jesus.  Despite all their hypocritical posturing, how fragile is their commitment to him.

The passage illustrates the various emotions of the kind most people go through. Many people seek recognition, just doing what is reasonably required with a quiet devotion is not an acceptable practice to a lot of people.  Of course, what is understandably galling, is for someone else to claim credit for the work of another person. This often happens when someone in authority wants to claim the praise for all under him/her.

The Bible tells us that as Christians we should give our best at all times, as if serving our heavenly Father, and to be happy doing so without personal glory. This command is not universally obeyed, even though we are encouraged to follow him who states that he came to serve, and not to ,be served. He did not avoid an horrendous death on the Cross in our place.

But not even all his closest followers in the Apostolic band, could be true to him. We see Apostles found there was a reluctance to be ready to serve without counting the cost.

James and John could see the way things were progressing and wanted to get their claim in before others. They had failed to completely to follow the teaching of Jesus, and were like little boys seeking teacher’s favour. As Christians we are called not to be above all, but alongside all.

Jesus calls us into a life of sharing, and serving with him. Sometimes that will mean that we are placed in positions of authority in order that we can fill some particular role.  Sometimes we may placed as if lower, and therewith feel able to adopt a condescending attitude.

Television encourages recognition seeking. People watch others and hear what is happening in the big wide world, and feel they too must be part, from men at football matches behaving like fanatics and overgrown schoolboys , to women anxious to follow the stars. The ‘me too’ movement was an example, for whilst some women were treated deplorably, and had reason to complain, others were anxious to join in.

Consider the stupid people blocking main arterial roads, causing serious problems for innocent people, and most if asked would be unable to explain what they were protesting for, it is just enjoying a bit of fun for them.

We still have egos within the Church, where men and women get appointed to positions, and lose all sense of reality. They forget they are appointed for purely administrative posts, and have illusions of grandeur, but are not more worthy Christians, indeed more likely the opposite. I think if research was made, it would be discovered that few had little (if any) time as an ordinary Minister in a parish. They have taken the course of Office posts, have held a high role in business, in fact anywhere but a parish.

People do like publicity, the idea of appearing on television is overwhelming for them.  Look at the next awards show, when some programme wins an award, rather than the producer going forward to collect a trophy, a collection of everyone who has ever done the smallest part has to go forward.

Jesus is here stressing there would be a cost in being a Christian. He never tried to bribe by promising things, he preferred quality instead of quantity. Not all who listened to him agreed to follow him, or even agree with him, he either saved or upset them. When you do follow him, people will look at you as if you are in a special organization, which in fact you are, but not one they want to be in.

The Church needs to learn from Jesus, and instead of offering games, food and drink, offer them some proper doctrinal teaching.  We could all fill our Church if we offered alcohol, but a different Spirit is what is needed, a holy one.  The anomaly is there is too great a willingness to abandon doctrine God provided, because it upsets minority factions, and is unpopular with modern culture.  If you allow impurity into anything, you corrupt the whole lot.

Jesus would be most condemning of the desire for status in today’s Church, where men and now women, are more interested in career advancement than proclaiming the gospel, for which they got appointed.

The Church has always believed in one baptism for the forgiveness of all sin, yet the Church has created a new baptism service for those who change sex .  The Creed is recited at every service of the Church, yet many do not believe all that is being pledged.

Jesus came to serve and give his life on the Cross to make his followers worthy of being received into heaven, and we are called to serve him with uncompromising devotion..  Many men and women have made great sacrifices by giving up lucrative careers to serve Jesus, and have not regretted having done so.  They have been men and women of much knowledge and learning, they are not liable to commit themselves to any worthless cause. It is the mindless people who get such entertainment at mocking Christianity, and the cowardice who like the broadcasting company who would never mock Islam, yet agree to let the silly men and women who mock the Bible.

To paraphrase a famous slogan, think not what God can do for me, but what I can do for God.  You may be the commendable man or woman who faithfully attends regular worship, and may feel you don’t count. You count very much, and most Ministers, Pastors, Vicars, will appreciate your attendance. Some may at times not notice your presence, but God will always notice, and he is the One you must care about.

May God bless his Holy Word to us.

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