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  • Writer's pictureRev. Kim Taylor

Pastor's Ponderings: Meandering through Mark 10:35-40 bible study (June 11, 2024)

June 11, 2024:  Tuesday Bible Study on the Gospel of Mark 10:35-40

May the Lovingkindness of Jesus Christ surround you throughout this day and always.

If you have not read this passage for a while, be prepared to get a picture of how these everyday men who were selected by Christ are having some pretty aggressive thoughts about the advantages that might be available to them once Jesus met his end in Jerusalem. It sounds kind of ruthless, doesn't it?  There are some things about James and John that we may not know. They seem overly ambitious, but it may be because they were ones who were invited to be with Jesus and Peter on some of those times when they witnessed amazing events. (the Transfiguration)  They may have also been more aggressive because they came from a family with resources and influence, so they may have had a great deal more experience in the world of business, but that alone tells us that they were not really well connected yet to the idea that Jesus was going to heal the brokenness of the world by His sacrifice in Jerusalem, and that the disciples would all be involved in the message of the Gospel by their commitment to doing its work through the church that Christ would gift to them.  The reality that you and I know is that regardless of their past experience, the new church would flounder in Jerusalem, but flourish outside of Israel, and the new mission to the Jews would use up James' and Johns' resources, and they would become dependent on the gifts which Paul would bring to them from his collections in Asia Minor.  As an aside, in Matthew the writer attempts of soften this raw ambition by saying that it was their mother who requested the action by Jesus before His death, but the writer of the Gospel of Mark exposes the hard reality of the disciples who were still not really seeing the whole picture, and how involved they would be after Christ's death.  Another part of this passage in Mark is how the term "cup" is used. In the 23rd Psalm the cup overflows with goodness and mercy, all the work of our good and loving God. Yet, here, the use of the word "cup" is different.  Here it is the intent of God that His Son, and our Lord Jesus Christ, should suffer on behalf of the people that He has created. This cup is filled with the wrath of God's judgement on behalf of all of creation, and it is to be consumed by the Savior in humble obedience to the Father. James and John really do not understand that this cup is filled with the deadliness of the world's sin. Indeed, many of the disciples will suffer fates like Christ is to suffer, and others will pay their life price in other ways, like Peter, crucified upside down on the cross. Though these deaths are unable to pay the price of sin, they are just a part of being those who are committed in their lives to teaching the truth of God's Love in Jesus Christ, and they die because the power of this message is a threat to those who want instead to wield the power of the darkness in the world.  Ultimately, many of the disciples will indeed bear in their lives the "cup" that took the life of Christ.  In His very Jewish way, Mark indicates that it is only God who determines how a person's life will move. God knows because He knows how the choices in our lives that have been made will affect our life and work, and by the power of the Holy Spirit already knows the “yes” of our faith. In the whole picture of God's plan for His creation, we only see a miniscule piece, God knows all the rest, the impact of our lives and how we fit into His plan, which could well mean a long life filled with joy in Christ, or a shortened life in spite of our strong faith,  God's will for us is immutable and right, though you and I may wonder why when we only see a tiniest piece of the whole Holy plan in which God is in control in all things.    Be with you on Thursday for another part of the Nehemiah study.

In Christ's Love, Pastor Kim

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