Thursday, 6 May 2010

Mark 10

The 2nd part of blind-spots of discipleship - based on the 3rd and final time Jesus explains what it means to be the Son of Man.

PA crew were new, so first 5-7 min is missing - text here:

Well we’re looking at part 2 of the blind spots of discipleship this week. I know it’s possibly ever so slightly difficult to remember a two-part sermon series when they are almost 2 months apart. But let me do my best to remind you.

We were essentially asking what does it mean to be a disciple of Christ,– trying to make further sense of Jesus’ statement earlier on in Mark chapter 8:
Mark 8:34 Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

So the last time I was here, we were looking at the 3 statements where Jesus describes what He came to do. (PowerPoint – 3statements). The plain and open statements of Jesus to His close disciples on what it means to be Him, Jesus, the Son of Man – and by extension, what does it mean to be His follower, His disciple. So we remember Him saying:

Mark 9:31 For He taught His disciples and said to them, "The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day."

And so what happened next? Well, Jesus just told them about His suffering and fate, and just like the first time, their response is a desire of personal greatness and glory:

Mark 9:34 34 But they kept silent, for on the road they had disputed among themselves who would be the greatest. (NKJV)

We remember - the disciples were debating on who was the best amongst them, the privileged few that were allowed to follow Jesus so closely. Jesus’ response to them, was that the disciple of Christ, requires humility, literally as we mentioned – it is to become bent over. It means you will become someone who is totally dependent on His Heavenly Father, and not to make the same mistake of Adam, and of Israel who’s desire was to become independent, become Gods even, they became blind in the sense that they no longer recognized that all the power, and good gifts, and talents that they had, had been given to them by God to be used God’s purposes, so that His glory could be shown to others – that they also may come to Him. Jesus used the words “faithless and perverse”, using these resources for their own vain-glory.
So now in Chapter 10, It seems that in the short time since the last incident, not much has been learnt at all. Jesus yet again states in more detail who He is – please follow with me in your Bibles:

Mark 10:32-34 32 Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid. Then He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him: 33 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; 34 "and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."

Again, Jesus has just told them about the way of the cross, the way of humility and humiliation, the way of suffering at the hands of others. So what happens next?

Mark 10:35-37 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, "Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask." 36 And He said to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" 37 They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory."

One preacher remarked that this must be the worst prayer in all human history “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask”. A prayer of complete self-centeredness and having no regard for anything that Jesus has said, imagine how he felt - It’s even worse this time, since it is the 3rd time He’s saying it and because this time, Jesus has started to make His way towards Jerusalem. He is now definitively setting off on the events that will lead Him to His being mocked scourged and spat upon, and ultimately death.

Sadly however, this type of prayer has been repeated countless times ever since, by myself included, and many a time, this is the manner in which we pray in our petition to the Living God, our Cosmic ATM machine – that will provide us with whatever we want for our own goals and ambitions in this life, and even in the next, regardless of anything He says about Himself.

The situation gets even worse in Matthew’s gospel, in that one, James and John have gotten their dearest mother to ask Jesus for them. Note the amazing irony, they’ve basically asked to be co-rulers of the universe, and they need mummy go do their dirty work. Mark does not bother with the nuances in Matthew, and cuts to the chase – this is their desire, no matter who has done the asking. They want to be co-regents with Christ when He sits on His glorious throne. Jesus – we want you to grant us power, glory, security and comfort.

remaining audio here:

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