20th Sunday After Trinity 21.10.12 Mark 10.35-45

14 10 2012

A Radical Ethic of Giving

Given Jesus’ response to the rich young man a few verses earlier, and his comment that, ‘the first shall be last, and the last first’, this episode is very surprising. Jesus has been expounding his topsy-turvy mindset very clearly and yet two of the key disciples just don’t seem to get it.  They return to the same old approach which seeks the best for me and my family.

Notice that Jesus did not rebuke the disciples for their anger towards James and John. He isn’t afraid of real feelings. Rather he seeks to move the conflict on to something more helpful, and so returns to the same radical ethic of giving that we have seen earlier.

Mark 10: 35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ 36And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ 37And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ 38But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ 39They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’

41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’

Questions

  1. Why do you think James and John asked that question?
  2. What do you make of the positive part of Jesus’ answer?
  3. How would you summarise Jesus’ message towards the end of the passage if you  were speaking to a group of volunteers?
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19 10 2012
10/21/2012 Serve in Community | ForeWords

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