( Sermon for the week of October 22nd )
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,
"Teacher,we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."
He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" They answered him,
"Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other
at your left." Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are
Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism
with which I am baptized?"
They said to him, "We can."
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; but to sit at my right
or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has
When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.
Jesus summoned them and said to them,"You know that those who are
recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them,
and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it
shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among
you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will
be the slave of all.
For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to
give his life as a ransom for many."
James and John came to Jesus and addressed Him as "Teacher"...
that is the first sign that we have some human thinking going on!
Jesus' own Apostles address Him as teacher and then ask Him to grant
them whatever bthey wish? So, when it comes to selfish needs...
the Apostles who walked side by side, flesh and blood with Jesus
are not immune to humanistic,egotistic, selfishness.
If James and John aren't immune from absolute selfish desires,
Peter is not immune, Martin Luther is not immune, the
pope is not immune, and surely you and I are not immune.
Immune from what? Let's say it again...selfishness!
What James and John want from the Lord is selfish is it not?
The Lord has yet to endure the suffering and mockery of this world,
has yet to be crucified and rise on the third day, and two of His
Apostles are asking to be seated at the left and right side of
Our Lord's throne? I am agast at the selfish act and yet humbled
because I have acted just as selfishly in my life. Now, if I was
an Apostle destined to be picked by Jesus...and was picked by Jesus,
the same request that came out of James and John's mouth could
very well also come from my mouth. I wish that I could tell you
I could't be prone to that, but I know myself pretty well, and know
the nature of men well enough. I am being honest about it.
At the time that I am writing this, I could not even
fathom how anyone could be so fortunate as to be chosen as an
Apostle of Jesus and yet ask something of our Lord like this...
but people change and we are ALL prone to act selfishly. Period.
That is why I need the Lord to redeem me and forgive me.
Instead of rebuking James and John, Jesus gave them an answer that
meant to teach and to correct. It is written to teach and correct
us as well.
Jesus answered them and said:
"You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I
drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"
And James and John answered..."we can!"
none of us know what the throne of the Lord looks like, let
alone what role the person on the left or right of the throne
fulfills...so, James and John really don't know what they are asking.
James and John exclaim that they can drink from the same cup
and be baptized with the same baptism? OK! James and John believed
it and they will have the opportunity to faith in it by becoming
martyrs themselves, but NO ONE will drink from the same cup of
Christ unitil Jesus is crucified and ressurrects! Only then will
the rite of communion become available and the baptism recognized
Note that Jesus has NOT been crucified yet, that James has not
been killed yet, that John has not been killed yet...
The first think they are first but it will be the last in first...
a theme that runs through the Gospels.
Look at Jesus' comment:"but to sit at my right or at my left is not
mine to givebut is for those for whom it has been prepared"
This is a prophetic statement of predestination! Those who are to
sit, those who are to hear the word of God, those who are the sheep
and not the goats, are predestined! Heaven is for those for whom
it has been prepared.
That's all I am going to say on this right now.
Then the other 10 apostles became indignant at James and John.
Funny,remember earlier I said I was suprised at their selfishness?
Imagine how the other 10 felt...and then Jesus says something very
"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over
them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes
to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be
first among you will be the slave of all."
First, those who rule over the Gentiles make their authority known
and felt. They are great rulers who are the least in God's eyes.
The Gentiles who are ruled on earth will be great in God's eyes.
They are the servants to the rulers on earth but attain heaven
which the rulers won't.
The same will be for the Apostles. They will not rule over people
and establish a throne of authority, they will serve...they are to
be the slaves of God's people! And so are we! We are slaves to God...
not acting in vain glory like the rulers of the Gentiles, or James
and John who desire to sit on the sides of Christ's throne...
we are owned by God and no one else.
We serve Him the best we can, in all our actions! We are predestined
to be the tools of "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"...
Our works are His works...and that makes us the servants of God.
"Slave" may have a negative connotation, so servant may be a better
word...the meaning is the same in my statement but not for the next
statement Jesus makes:
"For the Son of Man did not come to be servedbut to serve and to
give his life as a ransom for many".
A ransom? The word ransom was used when a payment was made for the
freedom of a slave! What does Jesus mean? Jesus came to free the
slaves by offering a ransom...and the ransom was Himself.
All of mankind are slaves to this world until Jesus broke the
bondage by paying our ransom. No man could pay this ransom except
for Jesus who was the Son of God and that is why He had to be
crucified so that the world owes Him His life back. Through this
paid ransom, you are freed by faithing in Jesus. Jesus' statement
of "slavery" has to do with the ransom He paid for His slaves.
Look at the pain and torment the only Son of God had to endure...
for us! There is surely no earthly ruler willing to suffer for the
people, but the Son of God accepted the torture for our sake...
now that is truly an act of a King...The King of Kings!
Let's look at this more closely:
Jesus is OUR fullfillment of the Kinsman Redeemer spoken about
Boaz in the Book of Ruth.
Do you remember how it works?
Here we go:
1)We are the slaves.
2)Jesus is the ransom.
3)Jesus pays the ransom by offering His life.
4)Jesus lived a perfect life and thus was unrighteously murdered by
this world and Satan.
5)Satan and this world owes Jesus His life back.
6)Satan and this world cannot give Life back.
7)Jesus saves you by intervening on your behalf since the world
and Satan owes Him His Life back.
8)Jesus saves you only if you believe (faith"ing) in Him...
He doesn't know to save you if He doesn't know you!
He served us by going throught the pain, torment, suffering, and
Who is the first one into heaven?
The first in heaven is the last person who decided / recognized /
had faith in Jesus the Christ!
One of the THIEVES at Golgotha who were crucified on the right and
left side of Jesus' cross was the first one in heaven.
(Matt 27:38, Mark 15:27)
The LAST will be FIRST...as Jesus said...it is so.
Something to ponder:
This is a question I am not sure can be answered here...
but it is a question I have: Who sits on the right or left side of
the throne of Jesus?
Surely John sees in Revelation 24 thrones for the 24 elders...
but is there anyone to the right and left side of Jesus' throne?
Here is something to ponder on...
Notice only one thief gets into heaven who
is ironically the first in heaven. Why is this? Jesus sits at the
right hand of the Father and thus does not have anyone sitting on
His left.... There is room for one person...one thief...
to join Jesus in Paradise the day Jesus was crucified?
God bless you and your families this week!
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