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Sunday, January 10, 2010

1/10/10- Mark 10:32-45 Jesus Predicts Suffering

(Gethsemane- where Christ prepared for his death- Warner Sallman)
1/10/10- Mark 10:32-45 (pp My 20:17-19; Lk 18:31-33)

Jesus predicts his death for the third time

32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." 35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." 36 "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. 37 They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."

Calvin abridged: The apostles had been previously informed about the kind of death that awaited our Lord, but he repeats it again. He sees his death near and is ready to offer himself as a sacrifice, but he also sees the disciples not only afraid, but overwhelmed- blinded by alarm. So Christ encourages them to be steady and not yield to temptation. Christ fortifies them by foretelling what is going to happen, and also forecasting the resurrection. When the sons of Zebedee asked for a place of honor, they timidly asked that Jesus would grant them whatever they asked. This implied they knew this was a wrong-headed question.

Thoughts: Doubtless, this was a sad day for Jesus. He knew he would be leaving his followers, and entrusting the gospel to their care. Yet they were afraid, and also asking for a place of greatness as kind of a last request. This was part of the suffering of Christ. Yet God worked through them despite their frailty to accomplish his purposes. This passage tells us how Jesus faced reality. He could have just spoken about the resurrection- that all will be well in the end. But he also wanted to help his disciples see the bumps in the road ahead, so that they would not be discouraged. It is not un-Christian to recognize the problems of life. Some of the problems we face- suffering, apathy toward our exciting message, even persecution should be faced head on. We should be prepared to set our face like flint- toward our crosses. Yet we also need to not forget who is ultimately in control, and who will win in the end. Perhaps, during this NFL playoff season- an analogy might be we are the smallest player on the team. We will get pushed around a bit, even knocked down because we are so weak. Yet, our team is so much better we are assured of a win.

Prayer: Today, Lord, I may face heartache or suffering, for I am not fully in your presence yet. But keep me strong, and help me to remember the victory that is ours because you faced the cross and are alive.

Today is the Lord's Day.  Look for ways to give the day to Him- the good and the bad.

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