21st Sunday After Pentecost, October 18, 2015
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)
Scripture Readings*: Job 38:1-7, (34-41); Psalm 104:1-9, 25, 37b; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45
Job 38:1-7, (34-41)
“Where were you when I made the earth?” God declared that Job had spoken “ignorant words.” He then began a series of rhetorical questions to show Job how little he knew about the world. For one thing, Job knew little about the creation of the world since he had not been there at the time (vss. 4–7).
Job did not know what caused light and darkness (vss.19–20), or what the dimensions of the earth were (38:18), or what caused various weather patterns (38:22–30). He did not comprehend the complexities of astronomy (vss. 31-38). Job’s response to all of this should have been to acknowledge God’s dominion over all (38:33). Though Job did not understand the causes behind these natural phenomena, God spoke to him as one well acquainted with the basic facts of creation and laws of nature.
God called Christ to serve as a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. Just as God appointed Aaron as a high priest to represent people before God, Jesus – as our great High Priest – represents us in God’s very presence.
Because Aaron was surrounded with weakness, he was able to have compassion on other weak, sinful people. Christ also faced hardship, and learned the value of obedience by His commitment to God’s will.
An argument has arisen about greatness. James and John want the best seats in the kingdom (v. 37). They see leadership in terms of status and privilege. However, they fail to understand that in the coming days the only throne Jesus is to mount is a wooden one, and the only crown he will receive will be of thorns. The only ones who will be at his right and left will be crucified thieves.
Despite their lack of perception (and ours), Jesus teaches them (and us) that in his Kingdom, greatness is about service and humility. He reminds us that the baptism we are offered is to be buried and to be raised with Christ. The cup Jesus offers is one of suffering.
Follow the Leader
“Pick me! Pick me!” This is a common cry heard on playgrounds everywhere. We want to be first. We want to be noticed. We want to be important. We want to be the leader. We want to be included.
To be a leader in God’s kingdom requires a different cry – one that seldom occurs without suffering and sorrow. Prepare me. Lead me. Preserve me. Strengthen me. Help me.
Like James and John, our voices are sometimes too common with those on the playground. As our High Priest, well acquainted with our human weaknesses, Jesus listens with compassion. He is ever-present as trials and sorrows serve to mature our voice until it echoes His own… “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done…”
Prayer for Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost – Holy God, pour out Your mercy on me so that I may persevere in good works and deeds; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B