Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 19, 2023
(Matthew 20:20–28, NIV84) “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew and Mark (10:35-45) both record this incident immediately after last week’s devotion text. James and John and their mother wanted some special reward in his “kingdom”. We don’t know exactly what they understood at this time by Jesus’ “kingdom”.
In Jesus’ answer, he first makes reference to the cup of suffering he must endure. When they answer ‘yes’, he tells them “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” The Bible and tradition tell us that James and John both died as martyrs.
Jesus then goes on to talk about serving. He emphasizes that those who really want to follow him must serve. We know how Jesus served mankind. We know how he gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life.
For that we are and will be eternally grateful.
But as a thought for the week, we might ask “How are you serving Jesus?” “How are you serving God?”
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make our hearts ready for the second coming of thine only-begotten Son, so that until His coming we may be enabled to serve Thee with pure minds. This we ask through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen