In Sunday’s Gospel, Mark 10:35-45, two disciples, James and John, suggest to Jesus that they would like to be seen as more important than the other disciples.
Jesus tells all his disciples they should be humble. He tells them they should not act like great leaders who have full power over the people they rule – Jesus lived in the Holy Land when it was ruled by the Romans. Instead, he told them, they should not assume they are more important than anyone else, but act as servants to others; humble and helpful to others in all they do.
Jesus’ message is, we are all equal in the eyes of God.
Closing prayer: God of hope, encourage us to reach out when we see people who need our help. Open our hearts so that we may work together to make our community a fairer place for all people. Amen.
Andrew Olive, Headteacher
Despite repeated explanations to the contrary, the disciples still don’t grasp that Jesus is a suffering Messiah, not destined to be an earthly king as they hoped. Whereas the values of world they (and we) inhabit are based on power and domination, the values of the Kingdom of God are based on servant-hood. While James and John initiate the question about being given places of priority in the Kingdom, it is clear from the others’ indignation that they are only jealous that in their ambition, they could have been granted the places before the others even asked. It is interesting to note that at Jesus’ crucifixion, the places granted on his right and his left were granted to thieves. The words ‘cup’ and ‘baptism’ refer to Jesus crucifixion and martyrdom. Traditionally, James is understood to have died a martyrs’ execution early on; John’s fate is more ambiguous. Some sources also have him martyred early; others have him beaten, jailed, and exiled to Patmos from where he wrote the fourth gospel.
Children why not reflect on the Reading
How do we become important in God’s eyes, according to today’s gospel?
What ways can we serve those around us, today, in the year 2018?
What did Jesus mean by ‘the cup’ that he must drink? And ‘the baptism’ that he must undergo (remembering that Jesus was already baptised in water by John the Baptist)?
James and John’s ambitious demand to be seated with Christ in His Glory, above all the others, shows us that though they followed Him they didn’t fully know Him. Even though they were sincere in their Yes to Christ when asked if they would drink the cup that He would drink, they still didn’t fully understand that it meant taking on the suffering that Christ will end up taking.
Gospel Mark 10:35-45 The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many
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.’
May I give thanks O Lord, for the mission you have given me in life.