Friday of 5 Lent – April 3, 2020

Read Mark 10:32-45

Many modern commentators claim that the details in this third Passion prediction hint at a transplanted Passion narrative, that Jesus could not have known that kind of detail before the fact.  That seems unlikely.  There really would be no reason for Mark to elaborate on Peter’s recounting of these events.  As Jesus and His band of disciples drew nearer Jerusalem He would want them to be more fully prepared for what was to follow.  He would not hide  the details, even though it would be uncomfortable for them.

When the Lord takes us out of our comfort zone, it is because He has something better planned for us.  The journey to Jerusalem, and on to Calvary, is an important one for all of us to make.  It is the test of our profession of faith.  But, like James and John, we don’t really want to go there.  We want assurances.  The brothers make a selfish request: “We want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  Their request flows from the springs of their will.  They want to be near to the Lord, but their hearts reveal the selfishness of that desire.  “We want You to do OUR will.”

The Lord has just lovingly explained how He is going to Jerusalem to fulfill the Father’s will.  Nevertheless, Jesus will have His own deep distress as He fights with self will.  “Not my will, but thine be done,” He will pray in Gethsemane (Mk. 14:36).  He wants to offer Himself as the sacrifice that will bring life to James and John.  But the brothers cannot receive that love in the context given.  They want to avoid the unpleasantness of the suffering and death.

The Word of God is not always comforting; it is occasionally a harsh word.  But His Word is always given in love.  How we respond reveals our heart toward His love.  Is our prayer, as Jesus taught, “Thy will be done,” or “We want you to do for us whatever we ask of you”?  We may hear, as the brothers did, an uncomfortable word.  How will we respond?

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