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  • Writer's picturePastor Curtis A. May

“Do You Know What you’re asking?”

Article for March 17, 2024

Mark 10:35–37 35And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36And he said to them, “What do 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.”

It is a privilege to serve, not that I think myself worthy, because I know I am not.  I did not choose to serve you, rather you chose me.  You did not choose me of your freewill, rather God led you to choose me.  Again, I am not here because I am worthier than anyone else to be here but for His reasons, God chose me to be here.  And we all know God works in mysterious ways.

I’m not sure if we can fully understand God and His will.  We certainly do not control God as some might think they can.  We cannot bend God to our will.  We can, however, pray to God with praise, thanks, and supplication.  Not that God will answer to appease our will, but that He will answer to His unchanging will.

I do not pray for power and control.  I pray that God guides me with and through His will for everyone in this congregation and those whom I love.  Yes, there are times that I pray for my own wellbeing, forgiveness, and guidance.  Even in these prayers I pray that what God grants me is for your sake and for the sake of those I love. And I do love all of you.

I do not seek glory, for glory belongs to God.  So, I thank God for anything I do right, and blame myself for anything I do wrong.  I hope that I am doing the job God and you have called me to do, and if I am, then give the glory to God on my behalf.

Mark 10:38 38Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

Is it hard to drink the cup Jesus drank?  I would have to say yes.  It is hard for any man or woman for that matter to truly drink the cup of Jesus.  What the cup of Jesus proclaims is that He will die for the sake of sin and the many sins of man.  This is the calling of the Father in heaven as He brings His wrath upon sin.  So, the cup Jesus is going to drink is the punishment for the sin that belongs to others.

Note, Jesus dies at the hand of sin as will His disciples except for John.  Each one of us asks the question, why did God let this happen to me or to my loved ones.  Rather we should ask what sin took my loved ones from me.  And as well, we should ask what sin ruined my life.  It is not God who killed the good but the sin of man who kills the good and the bad.

The baptism of Jesus in this scripture of John is not the same as the baptism that Jesus received from John the Baptist.  This baptism of Jesus is the death He will receive from the sin of man.  However, with this death of Jesus it is death that really dies.  With the apostles the death they receive kills their sin.  We too, when we suffer the death, it is our sin that dies and like Jesus’ resurrection we will be resurrected without sin.

Mark 10:39–4039And they said to him, “We are able.” And 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.”

The apostles and we ourselves will drink the cup of Jesus.  That is not the cup we drink at communion.  It is the cup that is poured for us from the world.  The world will mock us for our beliefs as they did Jesus and the apostles.  The world will punish us for our beliefs and even kill some of us for them. 

We will taste the nectar that the world has to offer, and it will be as sweet as the wine-vinegar that was lifted-up to Jesus on a Hyssop branch.  The worldly taste may be sour, but the life to come will be sweeter than the fresh fruits of this world.  What this world sows we might reap in this life, but what Jesus sowed from the cross we will reap forever and ever.

As for greatness, let us give that glory to God knowing God is sharing His glory with all He saves through His glory Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the perfector of our faith as He died and rose again from death to sow the gospel for all believers.

Mark 10:42–43a 42And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43But it shall not be so among you.

Jesus simply said, it is not for us to lord over one another but to share in the gospel of our Lord.  Jesus is the true great King in the order of Melchizedek, all glory to our Lord and savior.  We then are made great in Him who is our greatness even our life eternal, Jesus Christ.

Mark 10:43b–45 But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Drink this cup of Jesus, that we serve rather than be served.  Jesus came to serve us, and He serves us life eternal and everlasting relationship with Him in His glory.  Amen.

Written by Pastor Curtis A. May


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