Gospel of Mark 10:35–45
Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” They answered him, “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said to him, “We can.” Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Jesus summoned them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
To enter into the fullness of life is to love well. To love well leads to giving of self to another. This is service out of love. I think this is what Jesus is on about here. When I am so full of love, I cannot help but serve. Love overflows into service.
As the ultimate service out of love, Jesus offered his whole being. A love that transcends time, space and even death.
It is not surprising the disciples were struggling to understand what Jesus was explaining to them, it seems like they only understood bits and pieces. I suspect it was only after the resurrection that they came to understand much more.
Jesus, the power of his love; the promise of eternal life; can only truly be understood through the experience of surrendering into love. In contrast to the over enthusiastic, grandiose and out of touch with reality type approaches of James and John in this Gospel, Jesus explains what true humility is. It is being grounded in one’s unique call. For Jesus, it was to be the messiah, offering loving servant leadership and the promise of eternal life that is transforming for all creation.
I ponder what true humility is for me? For us as community?
In our beautiful but troubled world, I pray for humility in all our social structures as well as our personal everyday encounters.