O God, in our weakness we have failed to be Your messengers of forgiveness and hope in the world. Renew us by Your Holy Spirit, that we may follow Your commands and proclaim Your reign of love. Amen.
Sermon The following is just some of the points made in the sermon. Listen to the full sermon by clicking on play above.
In our gospel lesson today, Mark 10:32-45, James and John have a mentality that figures that they should be a part of Jesus’ upper echelon. After all the did give up everything to follow Jesus. They gave up jobs, homes, time. But their timing was really bad, you see in our gospel lesson, Jesus has just told these clowns that they are going to Jerusalem and he is going to be mocked, arrested and crucified. But the disciples just don’t get it. They still view Jesus’ kingdom as earthly, a new reign to free the people from the oppression of the Romans. They see the coming of the kingdom as a big fight. They think Jesus is going to pull it out in the end, not die and be the victorious worldly king. And when Jesus enters his kingdom, they want to be rewarded for their efforts. They ask for a commitment from Jesus. Jesus asks them what they want. And they ask him “Well when you come into your kingdom, can one of us sit on your left and one of us sit on your right.” Jesus tells them “you do not know what you are asking for.” They still don’t understand.
Later when the other disciples hear about James and John asking for such a high place, they are upset with them. Maybe it was for having the audacity to ask for such high places, or maybe it was for beating them to the punch. But Jesus draws them together and teaches them.
The same thing can happen to us that happened to these disciples; we can approach God and say, you know how much time i spend in your church, how much money i give to your offerings, how i am always there with a cheerful smile, how i really want the best–it is only natural that you should reward me. And in the way our world works, that is appropriate. But not with God. For you see God flips the world upside down and teaches truth. Jesus first dispels that we deserve anything from God. For indeed our time is from God, our money if from God. Everything we give to God was from him in the first place. We are purely receivers in this relationship.
Jesus calls us to follow him. Jesus laid out for the disciples again what he had come to do. Jesus, from God, to earth, came here to serve. To pay the ransom for our sins. A ransom is something that paid to get something more valuable back. Jesus tells his disciples if you want to be great, be great at serving. Just as the son of God came here to serve, so we serve too. Serving does not get us into heaven. But Jesus’ call is to serve others, to serve as he served us.
There is an old saying that we should expect great things from God, and dare to do great things from him. We are really good at the expectation part, but we stumble a bit in doing great things for him. Our lord calls us to serve in humility and love, but be ambitious for the right things. We let people know how important they are to Christ by serving them. Serving in love, in response to Jesus’ amazing love for us.