“‘The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death…’ ‘Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left…’ ‘Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant.” Mt 20 : 17-28
This exchange in the Gospels strikes me as being a case where people weren’t listen (or weren’t understanding). Jesus says to the disciples that he is going to Jerusalem, and there he will be killed. James and John’s mother then asks if Jesus would grant that her sons be given the two top positions in his kingdom.
It’s always struck me that this request comes immediately after Jesus says that he is about to die. IT shows the clear lack of understanding-that the pieces of the plan had not yet come into focus for the disciples-or that they did not want to hear that this is actually “the plan.”
It seems mildly comical until we step back and realize that we are the same way. In our lives, we fuss when the cross comes our way, and we shun being a servant. We would love to be consulted, to be respected, and to have the place of honor. But the call of the Christian life is a radical one that shows us that this is not actually what we are made for. We’re called to be servants, entering into the world as Jesus did with his eyes focused outwards rather than inwards.
The Gospel reading for this morning is a little less comical when I put it into the present day, and recognize that there are little moments each day where Christ calls me to go with him to the cross in Jerusalem, and I say no-that I would rather have some honor or some trinket.
May we all strive to begin each day with the heart of a servant, and the desire to love, to listen, and to be the servant of all.