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Monday, March 18, 2024

Just Like Me

Mark 10:35-40

“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 baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” 39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized 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.”


There is a story about a preacher who, after 25 years of sermons in one particular church, began asking members of his congregation about the details of his sermons. Not one congregant could remember any of his sermons.  The preacher quit that day and became an artist.


In this scripture we see James and John as they were, warts and all.  Jesus had just announced to them, for the third time, that he was going to die in Jerusalem and He had actually described what was going to happen to him.  As a result of hearing that, James and John asked Jesus if , when the event was over and He was in His glory, they could have the honored seats beside His throne.


This is everything that Jesus had preached and taught against.  Pride, arrogance, ambition, selfishness, putting oneself before others, etc., have no place in the spiritual life, according to Jesus.  How he held his emotions in check while he spoke to them I will never know.  How could James and John have lived with Jesus for three years, sat at His feet, heard Him teach and preach, and dared to ask this question?


Had they not listened?  Had they not heard any of His sermons?


But then I wonder,  how long have I walked with Jesus?  How long have I sat at His feet? Do pride and arrogance and selfishness still rule in my life?


Maybe this is the point of the story.


The disciples were just like me.


May the love of Christ be with you,

Rev. Eric Lanier (Retired)

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