“He will Rise Up..Get the Best Seat” Let’s Pray…Rev. Stuart C. Buisch
Mark 10: 32-45
Mark seems to note things that the other gospels are not interested in. Jesus, Mark says was in the lead, the disciples were amazed and those following behind were afraid. Luke tells us that the disciples didn’t understand Jesus’ words, the words and meanings had not yet been revealed to them. Matthew says Jesus took just his disciples aside by themselves, Luke doesn’t have the account of the two brothers asking for seats in the kingdom. Mark reminds us with Jesus in the lead that fear was not central to our Lord’s life. In Christ we can push forward and lead the way into God’s will. The reaction, Mark rightly notes, is amazement and fear. From the first Easter until today there have been followers of Christ who have baffled their peers and set a fearless course through the tasks for justice and salvation through persecution, martyrdom and abuse. Like Christ that didn’t stop them.
This is what empowers Jesus to say to his disciples that he will be ridiculed, spit on, tortured and killed. After three days he will rise. The ridicule and spitting even abuse they had no doubt seen before but torture and killing were new. I believe they saw their names on the list to receive the same treatment after Jesus and that was what really challenged their capacity to stay around. Mark doesn’t say that they didn’t understand. He simply states it and drops it as if interrupted by the two brothers who still think triumphantly of the new reign they think will start soon.
That’s not uncommon to have different reactions to very difficult words. Indeed, Jesus will reign but what does that look like for you and I? Are the seats in the kingdom so different that one should be vying for this one over that one. It is great that James and John see a new day dawning. Jesus doesn’t seem bothered or annoyed as the other disciples are. He rather asks them, moving back to his previous words, if drinking his cup and receiving his baptism will be difficult. They say they are ready.
Jesus gathers them around and makes clear that the Kingdom of God isn’t like the kingdoms or indeed the kings or power players of their generation. Jesus is different. Resurrection produces servants. Our goal as followers of Jesus Christ is to walk in God’s will regardless of the road that takes. We need not be fear-filled or apprehensive. In Christ the resurrection sets us free to serve in readiness for the serving of glory.
As we journey into Easter this year, as covid continues, conflicts in Ukraine and Tigray and many other places, will we be willing to take the lead with Jesus? Can we look ridicule in the face, ignore spitting, endure torture all in the name of Christ? There are those Christians who behave as to bring those things on themselves, but that isn’t what I am talking about. I wonder how Christians in the problem spots of our globe make sense of their pain apart from Christ. I wonder how people in hospice can journey toward the life to come with confidence without a working understanding of resurrection and the feast awaiting us. I wonder how families in mourning for loved ones get strength to get out of bed and make breakfast without the hope of life everlasting in Jesus Christ. Paul said it this way, if Jesus was not raised from the dead we are a people most to be pitied but now is Christ risen. Alleluia. In the name of God, Christ and Spirit, amen.
God of Easter, raise us up to the resurrected life here and in the new age…
Risen Christ, you inspire us to life fully and die fully and rise fully…
Spirit of God, sustain us in this waiting time and empower us with your work…