RCL Year B Proper 24
Isaiah 53:4-12; Psalm 91:9-16; Hebrews 5:1-10; Saint Mark 10:35-45

You could well say that James and John think highly of themselves in today’s Gospel. After all, they feel comfortable telling Jesus that they want him to do whatever they ask him to do. They want the places of honor in his kingdom. They are looking to that day when, next to Jesus himself, they can lord it over most everyone else. They want power. They want control. They want greatness, and they want it to be recognized by others.

These things are very human to want. You may see the same desires in yourself. But you cannot see them in Jesus. Jesus is quite different. And, Jesus wants James and John to be different also. He wants them to recognize where greatness really lies.

Jesus wants them to know that greatness comes from knowing that you are loved by God. If you know this, you are free to serve and to minister to one another. Know yourself to be loved by God, and you will have no taste for tyranny and conquest. The real greatness is God’s grace, given to you to enable you to serve and to love. This greatness already is in you. You have only to let it out. You have only to call it forth from those you love and serve. For that’s what Christ did for James and John. They learned that their place in the kingdom was already assured. Their ministry was to make that message known. That’s your ministry, too. Know that you are loved by God, and your witness has begun. Know that you are loved by God, and you are your own brand-name, first-quality, premium, top-of-the-line Christian. You will be your own person, but not yours alone. You’ll be Christ’s person, and definitely his alone, for time and for eternity.