Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Devotional: The Way to Glory, Mark 10:32-52

Mark 10.32-52 outline

Mark closes his account of Jesus’ teaching and preparation of the disciples for his upcoming rejection and crucifixion in Jerusalem in 10:32-52. His teaching has scared and confused them so Jesus clarifies what is about to happen to him when they get to Jerusalem: he is going to be rejected, disrespected and killed, but will rise from the dead on the third day. However, John and James’ request for the prime places of authority in Jesus’ kingdom shows that they still don’t really get what he is saying. The way to real greatness and glory is not found by seizing power or manipulating others (the ways the world does it) but through service and giving one’s life to help and save others. This can only be appreciated by those who have experienced Jesus’ miraculous touch and had their eyes opened by him so that they are enabled to follow him. This is what the disciples needed and this is what we need every moment of our lives. 

Jesus now makes clear (10:32-34) that his road to glory and kingdom runs through Jerusalem where he faces betrayal, mocking, rejection, pain and death. Resurrection, ascension and glory will only come after this. For us to follow Jesus requires the same willingness to give up our own lives to serve and save others. Jesus explains that his life will be the “ransom” that sets free “many” to experience God’s forgiveness and freedom from sin, death and all its other consequences. Those that follow Jesus should expect to “drink the same cup” and for God to graciously work through their service to provide that same freedom to others.

John and James were not wrong to want to share Jesus’ glory. That is the goal of his incarnation. The problem was that they chose the wrong method. They tried to get in first (after all they were among the first disciples chosen) to get the best seats. Jesus was correcting their approach and method. The way to greatness is not through using people, seeking power, or pushing your own agenda. The way to real glory, power and authority is the way Jesus did it: through self-sacrifice and service to those who cry out (Bartimaeus) in need.

The section ends with the healing of blind Bartimaeus. He is a picture of what is required to follow Jesus to greatness. He acknowledges that he cannot see or help himself. He accepts the touch of Jesus and is healed. He then responds by leaving behind everything in his old life and following Jesus. With eyes opened by Jesus he is now ready to “go” and follow Jesus example. The reader should contrast the right response from the  unexpected person, blind Bartimaeus, with those who would have been expected to do the right things. The religious leaders try to manipulate God and the torah and trap God's Messiah. The disciples try to restrict access to Jesus and manipulate Him for personal ambition and power. The "good" man tries to reduce Jesus' demands to something he can handle on his own without following Jesus. We cannot save ourselves. Salvation requires a ransom (the life and death of Jesus). We need to meditate on what it means to follow someone who characterizes Himself as a ransom and servant.

No comments: