Todays readings.. Exodus 24&25, Psalm 78, Mark 10.
We read today how two disciples of Jesus, the brothers James and John, created dissension by asking, “Grant us to sit, one on your right hand and one on your left, in your glory.” [Mark 10 v.37] “When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant … “ [v.41] causing Jesus to say 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. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” [v.42-44]
We look out on a world where there is endless trouble in some countries, indeed tensions in all countries including this country, as to who will be leader or remain leader and exercise authority. Israel’s neighbours, frequently have conflicts of leadership. We also look at the religious world and it is the same, although the dissensions are usually kept under cover. Human organisations operate like a pyramid, the Pope and the papal organisation is a prime example of what Jesus said, “… their great ones exercise authority.” [v.42]
How can it be different to this? Subsequent events show how, for the disciples, it was! Their failure of faith at the arrest and death of their Lord humbled them and the book of Acts includes powerful examples of their subsequent teamwork. Their final lesson had been at the last supper when they again disputed “which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” [Luke 22 v.24] leading Jesus to make the point, “I am among you as one who serves” [v.27] as the vital role to take. This became the inspiration to their subsequent teamwork.
It was one of the lessons the Israelites in the wilderness had to learn in a painful way and it was only the youngest generation who entered the promised land under Joshua who learnt it.
In following Jesus let us not look primarily for all the benefits, like the people were doing in following Moses in the wilderness? What a mistake – how they suffered because of it! A tragedy. Let us make sure we are among those who serve, most of all serving our Lord, showing this by the way we each other.