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To Serve is Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary for this week is from Mark 10:35-45.  While traveling to Jerusalem, Jesus tells his disciples that he will be betrayed, killed, and will rise again. The sons of thunder, James and John, respond by privately asking Jesus for a favor.  They ask if they can have the place of honor at Jesus' right and left. The callous request demonstrated their lack of understanding, and Jesus asks them if they could bear the cup he was about to drink or the baptism he was about to experience. The cup and the baptism referring to his suffering and death by crucifixion.  James and John didn't understand, so they responded: "yes, of course, why not?".  Jesus shook his head, but acknowledged that they would indeed drink of that cup and experience the baptism, but that the place of honor on his right and left were not his to give.  The other ten disciples became angry with James and John, so Jesus settled the argument by reminding them of the upside down values of the kingdom.  The first will be last, and the leaders will be the servants.  In the kingdom, if you want to be first, you must be slave to all.

A chapter ago Jesus settled an argument between the disciples over who would be the greatest in the kingdom.  He set a child before them and said that they would need to receive the kingdom like a child.  They didn't get it, and this incident was the result of continued positioning among the disciples.  After Jesus' was taken up, it was James, Jesus' brother who led the church, not one of the disciples.  Despite their time with Christ, despite their claims to authority, they decided to focus on serving the community instead of leading it. 

Jesus, King of the Universe, Creator of all things, Son of the Living God set aside his divinity to become a man and rub shoulders with his creation.  During that time he took on the work of a servant, washing the feet of his disciples, healing the sick, and eating with the outcast.  He was a radical servant.  To be a Christ follower is to be a radical servant.  In today's culture, what does a servant do?  What groups of people are outcast and or oppressed?  Find these people, and do what they do, because that is the way of a Christ follower.


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