Sunday 17 October 2021

Bible Book:

'…whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.' (vs 43-44)

Mark 10: 35-45 Sunday 17 October 2021

Psalm 91: 9-16


The theme of this week’s readings is 'The Reign of Love'. It tells us something of the answer to the question “What will it be like when God is fully in charge?” Those who were close to Jesus during his earthly ministry lived with that question at the forefront of their minds. They saw something of the answer to it as they watched Jesus in action. When he healed or drove out an evil spirit, and when he taught the crowds they must have sensed that God’s kingdom was breaking in. It was, and yet the standards and values of that kingdom were not what they expected, as today’s reading clearly shows. It’s natural in any group that people jockey for position, so James and John, who were already particularly close to Jesus, sought to ensure their position and status for the future. They thought that they had what it takes, even though they could not have understood that Jesus’ words about drinking the cup that he would drink and being baptised with his baptism (Mark 10:38) would in fact refer to his passion and death.

You may be sympathetic with the indignation shown by the other disciples who thought that they had been out-flanked. All longed for recognition in God’s kingdom. Jesus’ words about being a servant, or indeed a slave, must have shocked them deeply, since in a world where dignity and honour mattered above all else, slaves were simply disregarded. Yet Jesus points out that the life of the servant is the normal Christian life. It’s the life that he lived.

As we’ll see later this week Jesus had already been giving strong hints that his life was one of service and sacrifice. His words about coming to serve and give his life may echo the 'Servant Songs' which we find in the Old Testament book of Isaiah. They clearly describe how love, which is the hallmark of God’s reign, is not simply a warm emotion. Rather it is the act of self-giving sacrifice.

To Ponder:

  • The Covenant Service says: "Christ has many services to be done: some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach; …… in some we can please Christ and please ourselves, in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.” Are you being called to live the life of service in a new way?


Lord of love, show me what it means to be a servant, and grant me the will and power to follow your ways. Amen.

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