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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Word For The Week

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 20:20-28
A mother's love for her sons knows no bounds, logical or otherwise. It is often said that a mother will throw her husband under a bus for the sake of her sons - even throw herself under the bus for the sake of her sons - but the bond between a mother and her sons is something unusual, something irrational, something special.

Unconditional love.

When we're trifling Mom still loves us. When we're acting a fool Mom still loves us. When we've been caught red-handed doing dirt Mom still loves us, believes in us, and is often willing go on CNN to declare our innocence before a condescending world. There is nothing that we have done to earn our mothers' love. There is nothing that we have done to justify our mothers' love. The truth of the matter is that our mothers often love us in spite of a mountain of evidence that ought to tell them that they should have cut us off a long time ago, yet they still love us anyhow. They still look out for us anyhow. They still try to get us the hook-up when we in no ways deserve it, simply because we are their sons.

Unmerited favor.

The wife of Zebedee, mother of James and John, came before Jesus with her two sons to try to get them the hook-up, to try to get them prime-time positions in Glory. She did not make a merit-based case, giving evidence of how her sons deserved the positions of honor. She did not make a pragmatic case, arguing the utilitarian value of elevating her two sons to positions of honor. She simply asked for Jesus to command that her two sons be positioned by His side in His Kingdom. Jesus' inner circle consisted of three disciples - Simon Peter and the two sons of Zebedee - and it would seem that the mother of James and John wanted this circle to tighten to two.

A mother's love can drive her to do some unusual things, as anyone who has been involved in cheerleader wars can attest, but Jesus didn't even address her - He addressed the sons of Zebedee, James and John, telling them that they knew not that for which they asked. Too often we ask for things without understanding the implications of a granted request. As children many of us asked for a puppy to love as our own, but we didn't understand that the puppy needs cleaning and walking and feeding and a pooper-scooper. As teens many of us had our eye on that certain someone, not understanding that they had more issues than the New York Times. As young adults many of us wanted a certain job with a certain company or organization, just to find out that all that glitters isn't gold. Too often our $10 mouths ask for things that our 50ยข behinds can't handle - just like the mother of James and John.

Jesus asked the sons of Zebedee, "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" They flippantly answered, "Yes" and Jesus responded with something that probably rocked their worlds - they would indeed drink from His cup but He could not command for them to be seated at His right and left - that perrogative belonged to the Father, not the Son. Jesus essentially told them that kissing up to the boss won't advance your career; sending your mom to make a request that you yourself were to cowardly to make will not advance your position; maneuvering politically will not change your relationship with God. We are not saved by works or politics or plenary indulgances - we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

It is a state of grace.

Each of us who has been graciously saved through faith in Jesus Christ is indeed a grace case, and when you walk in this state of grace you treat people differently than those who are walking according to the flesh. Those who are operating according to the flesh look to position themselves over others in order to lord authority over them, while those who walk in this state of grace look to lower themselves into a servant's position. Those who are the lord of their own lives - the captains of their own souls - look to glorify themselves, to make themselves look good, to magnify themselves in the eyes of men, while those of us who submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ look to lower ourselves such that we may glorify God in our service to men. When you're walking in this state of grace you smile in the face of those who hate and despitefully use you. When you're walking in this state of grace you can love the father that abandoned you, the uncle that abused you, the cousin that called you everything but a child of God. When you're walking in this state of grace you model the mind of Christ, the Imago Dei, the very image of God. When you're walking in this state of grace you let your light so shine that men might see your good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. O taste and see that the Lord is good in the life of a grace case.

But it gets better.

In the hereafter we will be with Jesus in Glory. Each of us who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ will move from grace to Glory. There will be no more weeping and wailing over there. There will be no more sobbing and crying over there. There will be no more pain and suffering over there. In that day - in that great gettin'-up morning - we will go from grace to glory, taking residence in our own dwelling place that Jesus has prepared specifically for each of us; what God has for me is for me, but what God wants from me He will get from me as well. When God decrees blessings I receive them in full, and when God decrees work I receive it in full. God blesses us to be a blessing to others, not merely to enjoy our blessings all by ourselves. James and John were looking for positions of authority, but they didn't understand that with great authority comes great sacrifice. James and John truly drank from Jesus' cup - James was the first of the disciples to be killed for his faith in Jesus.

"Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

Be careful what you ask for, it may come sooner than you think. Walk in this state of grace, seeking to serve others out of our love for Jesus Christ such that our Father in Heaven might be glorified, our brothers in the Spirit might be edified, and someone through our example might seek to be justified in the eyes of God.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to walk in that state of grace,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

Read or Post a Comment

what a beautiful message...."Be careful what you ask for"...and incorporating a "Mother's Love"...truly inspiring and chastening...Grace is the most blessed gift...

Thank you Oscar.

Good Sunday to you...

Posted by Blogger DJ Diva @ Sunday, September 10, 2006 1:47:00 PM #
 
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